WHAT SHOULD HAPPEN? California is providing $72.5 million to four regions across California to provide students with more job and career opportunities in their local communities, improving access to higher education and employment opportunities.
SACRAMENTO – As part of California’s effort to improve access to high-paying and rewarding careers for students and workers, Governor Gavin Newsom today announced that the state has awarded four finalists—worth $72.5 million—for the Regional K–16 Education Collaboratives Grant Program as part of a $250 million investment in the 2021 Budget Act. This program is a key part of a statewide strategy for strengthening the regional economy, improving education-to-career pathways, and ensuring that education, vocational, and workforce programs work together to provide wider access to education and employment opportunities. The funds are provided by the Department of General Services (DGS), the Office of Public School Construction, and the Foundation for California Community Colleges.
What Governor Newsom said: “Every Californian should have the freedom to succeed by acquiring real-life skills and fulfilling careers, including those that don’t require college degrees. With today’s investment, California continues to prepare students and workers for high-paying, sustainable, and fulfilling careers.
“The Department of General Services is proud to play a key role in administering this much-needed program that ensures equitable pathways to meaningful careers and employment for all Californians,” said DGS Director Ana M. Lasso. “As the program expands to all regions of the state, DGS is excited to see this valuable model for successfully bridging disparities in California’s communities.”
Meanwhile, communities across the state are working to transform California’s public education system from cradle to career—expanding universal transitional kindergarten, expanding after-school programs, improving access to college and affordability, etc.—and the regional collaborations financed by the state are the charter of action and promoting implementation. With priorities like California Jobs First, formerly known as the Community Economic Resilience Fund (CERF) and Cradle-to-Career Data System, California is building partnerships and structures for translating policies into on-the-ground improvements for students and workers.
The current $72.5 million awards—four awards of approximately $18.1 million each—will go to the following collaborations:
Bay Area: Bay Area K-16 Collaborative (Chabot-Las Positas Community College District)
The Bay Area K-16 Collaborative brings together regional networks and industries around equity pathways in education, engineering and computing, and healthcare and biotechnology. Three subregions, anchored by California State University campuses and local partners, are driving trail changes in the East Bay, San Francisco/Peninsula, and San José regions. Partners will remove barriers to degree completion, accelerate transfer success, increase equitable participation in early college credit, and expand work-based learning.
Northern San Joaquin Valley: WE! The Northern San Joaquin Valley K-16 Regional Partnership: A Collaboration of Merced, San Joaquin and Stanislaus Counties (The Regents of the University of California, Merced)
Through the existing assets of the region, we profit! The tri-county collaborative aims to strengthen education and workforce partnerships and streamline pathways from high school to postsecondary into the workforce to provide high-quality talent in high-demand sectors. in industry. The 12-month California Regional K–16 Education Collaboratives Planning Grant focuses on promoting equity and pathway access while reducing barriers for all students and job seekers.
Central Coast: Central Coast K-16 Regional Collaborative: Improving Student Opportunities for Upward Mobility (The Regents of the University of California, Santa Cruz)
Central Coast K–16 Education Collaborative funding is to support a robust, data-informed, equity-centered implementation year. During the implementation phase, the Collaborative will work with partners across the region to create a transformative, equity-centered, systemic change that addresses long-standing systemic educational inequities and structural barriers along the lines of education and employment, leading to high skills, high wages, and high demand for regional work throughout the region.
Eastern Sierra: Sierra K-16 Collaborative: Workforce Ready, Future Engaged (Columbia College-Yosemite Community College District)
The K16 Phase 2 grant award will ensure that the Sierra K-16 Collaborative Partnership builds sustainable, intersegmental collaboration for the achievement of the overall goal of improving regional opportunities for students who may be highly qualified to fill the job vacancies and earn living wages in the computing, engineering, education, and healthcare industry sectors.
The Regional K–16 Education Collaboratives Grant Program provides funding to develop or create collaborative efforts between the University of California system, the California State University system, community colleges, K–12 school districts, and workforce partners. Collaboratives must also commit to implementing four of the seven recommendations drawn from the Recovery with Equity report to improve student achievement. The program awards one grant within each of the 13 California Jobs First regions, with the goal of completing implementation by June 30, 2026.
HOW WE GET HERE: California is preparing for labor market transitions and investing billions of dollars in career pathways initiatives to address key areas of need: workforce shortages in the health economy and care, expanding construction careers to address gaps, removing barriers to employment for diverse communities, developing the teacher workforce, removing silos, and increasing connectivity between education systems and workers. Governor Newsom’s Family Agenda transforms public education to prepare students for the future and meet these unmet needs in the labor market and changing economies. As part of the governor’s efforts to ensure that students have the “freedom to succeed,” the state is investing billions of dollars to help students learn real-life career-ready skills.