The Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) is proud to announce that the State of California has awarded a regional consortium $15 million in grant funding as part of a new state program designed to help students graduate from high school prepared to succeed in college and careers. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson made the official announcement today.
SCOE will be the fiscal agent for the Career Pathways grant, awarded to the Capital Region Academies for the Next Economy (CRANE) Consortium. CRANE is a multi-county regional partnership including four local community college districts, plus 22 school districts and county offices of education, reaching some 70 high schools and 84,000 high school students.
"We are thrilled that we are able to now move forward with this innovative regional effort," said David W. Gordon, Sacramento County Superintendent of Schools. "We know programs linking rigorous academics, relevant career technical education and real work experience reduce dropout rates and help provide businesses with a vital, skilled workforce."
"Whenever we, as school districts, county offices and counties work together on a regional basis, we can accomplish a whole lot more," said Gayle Garbolino-Mojica, Placer County Superintendent of Schools. "I am really pleased that the California Department of Education has been able to look at the fine job that we've done of working together in our region and will be providing us with the funding to promote high quality career pathways in our high schools."
The California Career Pathways Trust was spearheaded last year by Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg, establishing a one-time $250 million competitive grant program in the state's 2013-14 budget. Grant recipients will utilize the funding over the next four years to create sustained career pathways programs that connect businesses, K–12 schools, and community colleges to better prepare students for the 21st century workplace.
The CRANE Consortium includes El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, Sutter, Yolo, and Yuba counties. Led by SCOE and the Placer County Office of Education (PCOE) in collaboration with NextEd, the consortium also includes community colleges, regional Workforce Investment Boards, businesses and business associations, hospital systems, labor organizations, city and county government, and a wide range of public sector agencies. CRANE will create a region-wide system of support to help individual districts develop, implement, and sustain rigorous career academies aligned with critical industries identified by Next Economy, the Capital Region's economic development strategy.
In addition, a related Capital Academy and Pathways (CAP) grant application was filed jointly by the Elk Grove Unified School District and the Sacramento City Unified School District resulting in $6 million in funding.
"Education leaders in the Capital Region worked diligently to align the CRANE and CAP applications in order to partner seamlessly with community colleges and local businesses in our effort to better prepare students for college and careers," Superintendent Gordon said.
"Educators and employers in the greater Sacramento region are exceptionally well positioned to improve the way we prepare our young people for success in school and in a future career," said Dave Butler, CEO, NextEd. "Through CRANE and CAP, we will link school districts and community college systems, to provide a seamless pathway for students to progress from high school, into post-secondary and into the workplace."
With such far-reaching collaboration, the CRANE Consortium has the potential through "Linked Learning" to completely shift how schools throughout the greater Sacramento region prepare students for careers and college. Students in these programs are demonstrably more likely to graduate from high school than their statewide counterparts, and do so with the skills and knowledge that California employers say they need.
"Building a pipeline of talent, prepared for critical careers in our core industry sectors is a primary objective of the Next Economy, the Capital Region's economic development strategy," said Roger Niello, President and CEO, Sacramento Metro Chamber. "The Metro Chamber looks forward to working with NextEd and other partners to recruit and mobilize employers throughout our region in this critical effort, supporting schools and mentoring our region's young people, who will soon be the entrepreneurs and innovators of tomorrow."
The California Career Pathways Trust grant application process was very competitive. State officials received 123 eligible applications containing about $709 million in requested grants, nearly triple the $250 million in available funding. Applicants included community college districts, county offices of education, direct-funded charter schools, and school districts.