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.
Equitable access to high quality career-themed high school pathways requires that school staff and all pathway partners work in concert to address each student’s developmental needs, skills, strengths, interests, and aspirations. To this end, effective student supports are designed to reach beyond the academic domain, to meet all students where they are, scaffold their engagement with a standards-based curriculum, and address their learning and personal youth development needs. This guidebook continues an exploration of integrated student supports for universal college and career readiness that we began in Equitable Access by Design (2016). That report introduced a conceptual framework for implementing a system of comprehensive and integrated student supports that provides equitable access to a coherent, student-centered program of learning via Linked Learning pathways in high schools. This work is intended as a companion to Marisa Saunders’ Linked Learning: A Guide for Making High School Work, published by the University of California, Los Angeles in 2013. The chapters in this guidebook offer seven illustrative profiles of educators and their partners in California high schools who are working collaboratively to develop comprehensive student supports that “link together” a rigorous academic curriculum, technical education, and workplace opportunities into a coherent learning experience for every youth in their school.
This brief presents findings from the Oakland Health Pathways Project (OHPP), a joint initiative of Oakland Unified School District, Alameda Health System, and Alameda County Health Care Services Agency. The initiative is designed to improve educational and long-term employment outcomes for youth of color in Oakland (Alameda County), California, while expanding and diversifying the local health care workforce. It applies Linked Learning, an approach to college and career preparation that combines classroom learning with real-world work experiences. This brief draws on interviews with key personnel from the three partner organizations to distill lessons learned on effective cross-sector partnerships and delivery of authentic work-based learning. These lessons are timely as the health care industry is projected to account for about a third of total U.S. job growth through 2026, and includes 20 of the 30 fastest growing occupations nationally. Findings from this Oakland initiative can help other communities better align K-12 education and student experiences with projected local labor needs.
Perkins V includes several provisions that support the implementation of Linked Learning and other high-quality college and career pathways initiatives. Linked Learning is an approach to high school redesign that combines (1) rigorous academics, (2) high-quality CTE, (3) work-based learning, and (4) integrated student supports. Increasingly, Linked Learning also provides students with opportunities to earn postsecondary credit while they still are in high school. These components are woven together in industry-themed pathways that provide for a relevant, hands-on learning experience for high school students.
This brief provides estimates of the effect of Linked Learning participation on students’ likelihood of enrolling in college and persisting into a second year, with particular attention to outcomes for specific student groups: students with low prior academic achievement; those with high prior achievement; English learners; and African-American, Latino, and female students. Because the Linked Learning approach is designed to combine rigorous academics with a career technical education sequence, these outcomes are crucial to gauging Linked Learning’s efficacy in preparing students for college as well as career. This analysis relies on data from the National Student Clearinghouse, which captures enrollment in approximately 97 percent of all 2-year and 4-year postsecondary institutions.
The responsibility to deliver college- and career-readiness education programs and services has evolved to include an array of organizational partnerships and alliances. Some act as intermediaries or hubs, aiming to coordinate communications, policy, and curriculum with state and local districts. Others seek to operate whole-school models within a school district. Linked Learning and NAF (formerly National Academy Foundation) are two such examples. Although each is unique, both exist with the explicit purpose of building long-term workforce opportunities by connecting education and industry.
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.
What Works Clearinghouse, an investment of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) within the U.S. Department of Education, has released a new practice guide to provide educators and administrators with evidence-based recommendations for reducing dropout rates in middle and high schools and improving high school graduation rates. The practice guide cites Linked Learning as a strategy to prevent drop outs. The practice guide provides school and district administrators, as well as members of student-support teams including school counselors, social workers, psychologists, and teachers with the best available evidence and expertise on current challenges in education, and how the recommendations can be implemented in their schools and districts.
This brief describes the successes and challenges school districts have experienced in fostering access and equity in Linked Learning pathways, examining five groups of students frequently underserved by traditional schools. Findings are drawn from an SRI Education evaluation in nine California school districts over seven years. The report also includes information on promising strategies enacted by the districts today.