As a hub for the Linked Learning movement, the Alliance offers research, stories, and tools that help people understand the impact of Linked Learning and implement this approach at high levels of quality.
This case study details how the four communities of the Great Lakes College and Career Pathways Partnership are working to systematically move the needle to ensure that all young people are prepared to not only meet the current and emerging needs of the workplace, but to also find value and meaning in their working lives, and fully realize their best possible futures.
21st century skills, also known as soft skills, are necessary to succeed in today’s workforce. Yet, many employers cite that students graduate unequipped with these basic skill sets, making it challenging for both students and employers to transition from a school to work setting. Linked Learning is a solution to this challenge. Linked Learning students gain technical knowledge and skills, 21st century skills, productive dispositions and behaviors, and professionalism needed to meet modern workforce demands.
America’s Edge is a membership organization of business leaders who work to strengthen businesses and the economy through proven investments in children and youth. They “educate policymakers and the public about research-based investments that will enable their businesses to compete in today’s competitive global marketplace, build a foundation for lasting economic security and help our nation’s children get on the right track.” This fact sheet summarizes the findings from an America’s Edge report, Can California Compete? Reducing the Skills Gap and Creating a Skilled Workforce through Linked Learning.
This brief is one in a series on the Linked Learning high school reform effort that focuses on preparing graduates for both college and career. This first brief will discuss achievement gaps and employment and economic trends that support the need for high schools that prepare all students for both career and college. The following briefs will be informed by interviews with members of governance teams from districts that are implementing the Linked Learning approach, and will explore how career and college preparation programs—including Regional Occupational Programs/Centers (ROP/C)—promote success for underserved and underperforming students.
According to this report, nearly half (47 percent) of California jobs are in “middle skills” occupations that require education beyond a high school diploma, but less than a 4-year college degree. The report estimates that only 38 percent of California workers have the skills to fill these positions, creating a nearly 10 percent skills gap. When coupled with a shortage of workers with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills, business leaders are voicing concern about California’s competitive viability in a global marketplace.
To meet California’s demand for a more educated workforce, high schools must dramatically increase the number of students who graduate and graduate with the skills and knowledge they need to be successful in college and career. Yet disturbingly, few students graduate with the college-ready coursework needed to access our state’s public university system. This is especially true for low-income students and students of color, who are also disproportionately tracked into less rigorous “career education” courses. This report highlights these troubling trends and calls for a more integrated and equitable approach to college and career preparation—so that high school serves to open doors to both college and career options for all students.