The members of both the K-12 and Community College policy boards, will meet for the very first time on Friday to discuss future plans on how the job market can be more attainable with these systems working together.
Three members of the California State Board of Education and three from the California Community Colleges Board of Governors will come together as the California Workforce Pathways Joint Advisory Committee. The new panel is a revived version of a group that met in previous decades with a narrow focus on vocational programs in high schools and community colleges. Those programs were largely “terminal,” meaning the courses did not encourage students to continue their education beyond a single course.
The newly formed committee will discuss career-themed and industry-linked programs and broader topics such as better alignment of high school courses and counseling with community college offerings to create a seamless, K-16 path and beyond. The group may also discuss possible federal reauthorization of the Perkins Act, which has provided federal funds for career-technical education focused on workforce development.
“This is a revival of something that was done before but in a very new context,” said State Board of Education President Michael W. Kirst, a Professor Emeritus of Education and Business Administration at Stanford University.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said there is great value in better collaboration between California’s educational systems. “Community colleges and the K-12 system must work closely together with each other and the business community to help our students have a smooth journey from high school to careers and college.”
Kirst chaired a similar committee in the 1970s and spearheaded formation of the new panel. Unlike other educational committees that assemble for specific purposes—a grant in common, for example—Kirst said the intention is for this committee to build a more permanent bridge.
“The objective is to build something lasting,” he said.
With more than 2.1 million students, the state’s community college system serves the vast majority of Californians seeking post-secondary education. It is the largest system of higher education in the United States and the nation’s largest provider of workforce training.
The committee’s first meeting on Friday will begin at 9 a.m. at the California Department of Education headquarters (1430 N St.). State Board of Education members on the panel are Feliza Ortiz-Licon, Patricia Rucker, and Ting Sun. Representing the Community College Board of Governors are Joseph Bielanski, Jeffrey Burdick, and Pamela Haynes.
They will be welcomed by Eloy Ortiz Oakley, who was appointed Chancellor of the California Community Colleges system in December. Oakley formerly served as Superintendent-President of the Long Beach Community College District which is known for implementing innovative programs to help students succeed in college.
The State Board of Education is the governing and policy-making body for public K-12 education in California. Members are appointed for four-year terms by the Governor of California and are confirmed by the State Senate. For more information, please visit http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/.