SJSU and Bay Area K16 Collaborative Partners Receive $4 Million to Streamline Education to Career Pathways

by | Dec 4, 2023 | Awards and Achievements, Featured

Thanks to an influx of state funding, SJSU and participating K16 collaborative partners are poised to strengthen career pathways in our region. Photo by David Schmitz.

How can universities, community colleges and school districts partner to streamline pathways from education to career? 

This November, Governor Gavin Newsom awarded four $18.1 million grants to regional collaboratives across the state to find creative ways for high schools, colleges and universities to address systemic inequities in higher education. The funds were awarded by the Department of General Services (DGS), Office of Public School Construction and the Foundation for California Community Colleges. 

As a member of the Bay Area K16 Collaborative, an initiative funded in part by the California K16 collaborative grant program, San José State is uniquely positioned to build high-quality and high-demand education pipelines for students across the region. SJSU and its partners will receive $4 million over two years to streamline career pathways in health and wellness, technology and education.

“The K16 collaborative grant allows us to further SJSU’s commitment to providing access to a transformative university education for students from within our local community,” says Heather Lattimer, interim vice provost of undergraduate education and dean of San José State’s Connie L. Lurie College of Education. “The work that we are undertaking in collaboration with K12, community college, and industry partners will strengthen academic pathways into the high demand career fields of education, health and technology. 

“We will work together to remove barriers to entry, enhance advising and family engagement, and grow hands-on learning experiences that energize students and provide them with a vision for what is possible. We are excited to embark on these next steps together.”

Janene Perez, ’01 BA, ’05 MA Child and Adolescent Development, director of Lurie College alumni engagement and a member of the collaborative’s steering committee, explains that SJSU plans to partner with participating school districts and community colleges to offer dual enrollment opportunities. By offering college-level courses on high school campuses at no cost to the students, the collaborative will enable students to earn transferable college credit, potentially saving them time and money on their pathway to a degree.

“We are focused on three college and career pathways: education, health and technology,” explains Perez. “The hope is that we will address equity and open up opportunities for students who may have never thought about careers in these pathways, as early as possible. We’re doing this through early exposure to college courses through dual enrollment, and early exposure to hands-on learning through work-based learning partners, coupled with student support services.”

Participating SJSU colleges include the Lurie College, the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering; the College of Health and Human Sciences and the College of Social Sciences. Additional campus partners include Peer Connections, the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office and the Office of Undergraduate Education.

“This proposal aligns the Collaborative’s goal to collectively impact K-16 achievement leading to high-demand, high-skill careers — with a focus on students from communities underrepresented in the San Francisco Bay Area’s tech ecosystem — with SVLG’s mission to diversify the innovation economy,” said David Palter, senior director of higher education and workforce development at the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. “Our role in the Collaborative will be to leverage the considerable talent among SVLG member companies to advance opportunities for students across the work-based learning continuum, from networking and mentorship, to project-based learning, internships, apprenticeships and full-time hiring.”

Over the next few years, the Bay Area K16 Collaborative commits to participating in the California Cradle-to-Career Data System, implementing recommendations from the 2021 Recovery with Equity report to promote student success and establishing occupational pathways to success with participating schools.

“Over the last year and a half, our planning focused on increased access and systems that support first-generation college and low-income students to complete baccalaureate degrees and enter high-skill local jobs,” said Dr. Theresa Fleischer Rowland, vice chancellor for Educational Services and Student Success at the Chabot-Las Positas Community College District and the lead principal investigator for the implementation, in a press release shared by the district. “The Bay Area K-16 Collaborative Implementation Grant allows us to build deeper connections with industry, including the expansion of accelerated pathways and work-based learning for students who can benefit the most.”  

Learn more about the Bay Area K-16 Collaborative.