Over 60% of U.S. jobs require a college degree or some training beyond high school, a proportion that is expected to grow. But in California, around 12% of our students drop out of high school. The tens of thousands of young people who drop out every year are left with a smaller chance of securing a job, which will cost the state at least $22 billion over their lifetimes since dropouts are more likely to have poor health, be involved in the criminal justice system, have lower taxable income and need welfare support.
Linked Learning pathways, currently operating in 63 school districts, prepare students for college and jobs by integrating career-oriented classwork with real-world work experience and personalized support. Research shows that students in certified Linked Learning pathways are 56% more likely to work well on a team, 59% more likely to improve public speaking skills and 24% more likely to develop a system for organizing schoolwork than non-participants.
Linked Learning pathways also help improve graduation rates. 95% of seniors who attended the California Partnership Academies graduated from high school, versus 85% of their peers in high schools without a similar program. Also, 9% more Linked Learning students attended four-year postsecondary education compared to their traditional high school peers, showing that these programs benefit kids in high school and beyond.
Pro-Kid® Policy Agenda
The state should expand Linked Learning across California to make sure all high school students have access to rigorous academics alongside career-based learning, real-world work experiences and personalized student support.
Since 2012, students across California have benefited from the expansion of Linked Learning. The State recently invested $250 million to fund the California Career Pathways Trust, a grant program that will allow even more students to benefit from Linked Learning by encouraging local partnerships with employers and postsecondary institutions. There are currently over 850 pathways using certified Linked Learning models to connect students to college and careers, and over the next three years budget and policy changes will continue to increase student access to Linked Learning opportunities.