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Napa Valley College Receives Grants to Help Prepare Students for Jobs

Tuesday, June 10, 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Guin Griswold
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An alliance of North Bay public educational bodies, led by the Sonoma County Office of Education and including Napa Valley College, has been awarded a California Career Pathways Trust grant of up to $15 million.

The grant is for programs designed to help students stay in school and move toward college and employment in high-demand fields. The grant will create career pathway opportunities that connect K-12 schools, community colleges, and businesses throughout Lake, Napa, Marin, Mendocino, Solano, and Sonoma counties.

The highly competitive grant is one of just 12 awarded by the California Department of Education to applicants throughout the state of $15 million.

An additional 27 grant recipients were announced at the $6 million or $600,000 levels, including a $6 million award for another collaborative effort led by the Vallejo City Unified School District with Napa Valley College.

“This is an exciting time for Napa Valley College and the many students we serve from throughout the region. This funding will allow us to open doors, streamline career pathways, and increase relevant training for our students as they move from high school to college and the workforce,” said Beth Pratt, NVC’s associate dean of career technical education and workforce development who coordinated NVC’s participation in the program.

Business and education representatives from all six counties formed the North California Career Pathway Alliance and develop the details of the $15 million grant proposal. The Alliance includes 37 high schools, six county offices of education, five community colleges, five county workforce investment boards and employers.

The high school pathways will provide students with sequenced courses aligned with both the Career Technical Education (CTE) and Common Core standards for California schools. To effectively merge these standards and provide rigorous content, courses will be taught by teams consisting of at least one CTE teacher and one core academic teacher.

Teacher teams will be supported by “pathway coaches” and work-based learning specialists to support the integration of hands-on learning and real job-related experiences into the curriculum.

The proposed 67 high school pathways will be articulated to 38 community college pathways, allowing students to smoothly transition to post-secondary education and training. Participating community colleges have agreed to expand or refine their career pathways to provide effective grade 10-14 coordination and dual high school-college enrollment.

The Alliance completed extensive research so that its proposed pathways would provide a pipeline to high-skill, high-wage and high-growth employment opportunities projected for the region. Business and industry partners committed to working with schools have been secured in each of the chosen fields.

In addition, work-based learning specialists in each county will ensure that students receive real job-related experiences in the pathway. In more rural areas of a county, video-conferencing will be used to bring the workplace into the classroom.

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