Central San Joaquin Valley receives grant to support college and career transitions

Last week, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the Central San Joaquin Valley K-16 Partnership would receive a four-year grant of $18.13M to strengthen education-to-workforce pathways and ensure that partners address income, racial, and gender inequalities in education and employment. The Partnership is a collaboration between the Fresno-Madera K-16 Collaborative and TCOE’s Tulare-Kings College + Career Collaborative (TKCCC) – one of six collaboratives to receive the state’s maximum award.

“For nearly a decade, the TKCCC has worked to streamline and strengthen student transitions to post-secondary institutions and the workforce,” said Tim Hire, Tulare County Superintendent of Schools and TKCCC board member. “As valley educators, we see firsthand the challenges all of our students face in making those transitions, so equity has been a key component of our work. We are delighted to partner with Fresno-Madera K-16 Collaborative to share our successes and to learn from theirs in supporting the unique needs and challenges of Central Valley students.”

McKenna Salazar, TKCCC director, reports that the Tulare-Kings and Fresno-Madera collaboratives will work together to implement recommendations from the Council on Postsecondary Education Recovery Taskforce’s February 2021 Recovery with Equity report. Specifically, the Partnership will address college affordability, student supports and transitions, retaining quality teachers, and ensuring teacher diversity.

“In the area of student supports, we will focus on counselor trainings at the middle school, high school, and community college levels so that these valuable educators can better guide their students,” Salazar said. “To aid with transitions, our work is about gathering the entire continuum of education partners to discuss how high school coursework is built upon at the community college level and finally at the university level. We want to ensure students are graduating with the knowledge employers seek, a process that requires a thorough examination of courses, syllabi, outcomes, and activities at all levels.”

The grant also requires partners to focus on strengthening and expanding Central San Joaquin Valley student pathways. The pathway programs identified by the Partnership for growth include those in the areas of business management, education, engineering or computing, and healthcare. “We will work with districts that have existing pathways to strengthen and expand them, and reach out to districts interested in creating new pathways in these industry sectors,” Salazar said.

The Tulare-Kings College + Career Collaborative is a regional collaborative of 12 K-12 school districts, two county offices of education, eight post-secondary institutions, and over 500 workforce development partners. Together, the collaborative strives to create high quality career pathways, work-based learning experiences, shared data analysis, and transitional alignment to provide students with the greatest potential for their success. The Tulare-Kings College & Career Collaborative was named as a Linked Learning Regional Hub of Excellence by the James Irvine Foundation for its work in scaling and elevating high-quality Linked Learning pathways.

For more information about the Central San Joaquin Valley K-16 Partnership, contact McKenna Salazar at [email protected].

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