Strada collaborates with students, policymakers, educators, and employers across the U.S. to strengthen the link between education and opportunity.
We prioritize policies, practices, and programs that help ensure postsecondary education provides equitable pathways to opportunity.
We advance our mission through research, grantmaking, social impact investments, public policy solutions, Strada-supported nonprofit organizations, and strategic initiatives.
This article by Bill DeBaun originally appeared on National College Access Network.
On May 2, the Senate Career and Technical Education Caucus in conjunction with the Alliance for Excellent Education hosted “College and Career Pathways: Stories of Innovation.” The Alliance is a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy organization focusing on high school redesign for underrepresented students. The briefing revolved around “highlighting innovative approaches across the country to college and career pathways that have led to positive outcomes for traditionally underserved students.”
The Alliance does work in this area under the heading of “Linked Learning.” It focuses on reorganizing high schools around preparing students for college and career, which has obvious connections to NCAN’s work with Strada Education Network in preparing members to incorporate career success into their critically important college access and success work. Four components organize Linked Learning: rigorous academics, high-quality career-technical education, work-based learning, and comprehensive support services. The effort started in 2009 in nine California school districts.
“A bottom-up renaissance”
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), a staunch champion of career and technical education (CTE), paid the briefing a visit to provide some remarks. He began by proclaiming, “This is a renaissance around CTE in this country. It’s a bottom-up renaissance. We see it in employers and schools realizing it’s incredibly important. We need to make sure policies don’t get in the way of the renaissance but promote it.” Kaine noted that the bipartisan CTE Equity and Excellence Act had just been introduced in the Senate — legislation that provides funding for both innovation in CTE programs and redesigning the high school experience. CTE, he said, should “integrate into everyone’s curriculum, not just be a separate curriculum.”
Sen. Kaine called for an “emphasis on teaching workplace skills through job shadowing, internships, apprenticeships. Employers have a need for technical skills but also for life skills: communications, teamwork, creativity, problem solving.” The 2016 Democratic nominee for vice president also decried what he sees as a “lingering second class attitude about the merits and virtues of CTE.”
Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon moderated the briefing, and began by pointing out that his city has 55,000 residents and 48,000 jobs. Accounting for the young and the elderly, “there are enough jobs for every man, woman, and teenager.” Despite this, during the Great Recession, unemployment skyrocketed to 19.5 percent because residents “didn’t have the right mix of skills.”
That skill mix has become a “key priority for America’s mayors,” Cabaldon continued, adding that the system has for too long separated secondary schools as putting students on a path toward either college or vocational education. Cabaldon noted that real-world experiences in the workplace, paired with a college preparatory and CTE curriculum, both engage students in their learning and help them to learn workplace and “soft” skills.
Students feel “extremely prepared” for postsecondary
Jose Bojorquez, a construction engineer, said his Linked Learning experience at a San Diego high school helped him to overcome the challenges of being a first-generation student in a number of ways. First, it kept him engaged in his high school curriculum because he was able to apply concepts in class to his time in a workshop or workplace learning key skills. Through jobs and internships, he was able to apply those skills in the field. His high school connected him to his local institution (San Diego State University) through field trips and events where he was able to meet university staff. Eventually, he earned a full scholarship to SDSU, graduated, and earned a full-time job right out of college.
Seraiya Wright, another Linked Learning high school alumna currently enrolled at Howard University, noted that her high school “prepared me more than I ever would have realized to build a career path for myself … It helped me find my niche.” That discovery came about through work-based learning projects that integrated every aspect of what students were learning in the classroom. “When it came time for postsecondary, I felt I was extremely prepared,” Wright said. Her high school also prepared her for a career by stressing professional skills like how to dress and having an elevator pitch. “I had my diploma and my wonderful experiences under my belt, but I also was prepared to speak and felt very competent in my work,” she added.
“Putting the ‘and’ in college and career ready”
NAF, formerly the National Academies Foundation, is a nonprofit focused on educational design that brings together four elements: academy development and structure, curriculum and instruction, advisory board, and work-based learning. The concept of Linked Learning suffuses the academies in their network. Bill Taylor, their Vice President of Community Engagement, stressed “the journey involves partners. We are reshaping the high school experience to be college and career ready. We are putting the ‘and’ in college andcareer ready.” NAF does this work hand-in-hand with industry partners that have challenges they would like the education system to address. NAF’s academies in 36 states focus on five career industries: finance, hospitality and tourism, information technology, engineering, and health sciences. “This is happening at scale — It’s not happening in isolation,” Taylor noted, but in order to scale, the process cannot rely solely on “superhuman teachers.” He added, “[We are] drawing the work of it away from the teacher and implementing systems to do this institutionally. We need to be really intentional around that, we can’t just hope that it happens.”
Cynthia Brown is the Director of Student Pathways at the Porterville Unified School District in Porterville, CA. Porterville, which is in the Central Valley, is a very rural, agricultural community. Brown noted that the school district always kept up with the vocational training to provide the surrounding community with skilled employees, but they also had a strong college preparatory curriculum. “We didn’t want students to have to choose between the two,” she explained. Adopting Linked Learning practices, including career and technical experiences throughout the year, saw Porterville improve its secondary and postsecondary outcomes, student behavior, student and teacher attendance, and more. Over time, the district expanded from two career pathways to 13, and today 70 percent of students are enrolled in one. These pathways represent many different industry sectors. Brown explained that if students choose to pursue a career in the pathway they selected, that’s great, but if they change their mind, they also consider that a success. After all, “it saves a lot of money and moves them onto their chosen path much more quickly.”
The briefing’s last panelist was Sarah Steinberg, Vice President of Global Philanthropy at JP Morgan Chase & Co., which has invested in strengthening career-focused education. This investment results from two observations: high levels of unemployment even when the economy was improving, and hearing from business clients about trouble filling middle-skill positions in their companies. To try to build an education and training system that provides the skills and credentials people need to build careers and education, JP Morgan Chase funded the $75 million New Skills for Youth in collaboration with the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). Forty-four states applied for this competitive process. Twenty-five received initial planning grants, and 10 received longer-term implementation grants. The project’s two main goals are to increase across the board the number of students completing pathways that start in high school and end with a career credential, and getting to systems change and transforming the design and delivery of CTE in those states.
What the research says
Although the panelists’ individual experiences were in focus at the briefing, it is worth noting that there is substantial rigorous research examining the effects of Linked Learning. SRI International’s seventh-year evaluation report on California’s Linked Learning District Initiative finds a number of benefits for students enrolled in career pathways. For example, Linked Learning students earned nearly nine more credits by the end of high school and were 5.3 percentage points more likely to graduate high school. The evaluation also found increases in gains on 21st century skills like collaboration, communication, and informational literacy. Linked Learning students who did not pursue postsecondary education and entered the workforce from high school more often reported having jobs with sick days, paid vacation, and health insurance than their peers. In terms of postsecondary transitions, students in career pathways and their peers in traditional high schools were as likely to enroll in college. Of those who enrolled, they were as likely to enroll in a four-year school and persist to the second year. Despite this overall finding, African American students from Linked Learning pathways who enrolled in a postsecondary institution were 12 percentage points more likely to enroll in a four-year institution than their peers.
Both the stories and the research around Linked Learning offer encouraging insight in how to combine college and career success. The difficulty for college access and success programs is that, although the Linked Learning intervention is well-defined in what it comprises, it is also based in the K-12 system and requires substantial stakeholder buy-in and high school transformation. That puts its complete implementation out of reach for many NCAN members, although those that are districts or have close ties to them have a road map for this work, should it interest them. Despite this, there may be components or tenets that members can pull from and implement into their work.
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This article by Madeline St. Amour originally appeared in Inside Higher Ed.
Virginia’s largest community college and a prominent public research university have co-partnered with an educational management and student support service provider to improve academic outcomes for transfer students.
Edtech integration can cause headaches if technology solutions aren't "getting along"--but a new free tool could help alleviate that pain
New building will house over 500 employees
DXtera Institute, a nonprofit consortium of higher ed institutions, ed tech companies and other postsecondary education professionals, has released a free Next Generation Integration Scorecard (NGIS) aimed at improving technology integration in higher education.
Massachusetts will be the recipient of financial and technical help to build “data-driven approaches” to linking residents to jobs in growing industries, thanks to a partnership between the National Governors Association and the Strada Education Network.
This article by Carol D’Amico originally appeared on RealClear Education.
This article by Jeffrey J. Selingo originally appeared on the Washington Post.
The letter alerting Cal State Northridge students that they were being put on academic probation was pretty blunt and scary: shape up or risk getting kicked out.
Michigan State University has long worked with and competed against other colleges and universities in the United States.
One of the students leaving today on “Roadtrip Indiana” says she expects an “awakening” of what Indiana is about. Purdue University senior Shannon Newerth is joining two other Indiana students on a two-week RV trip throughout the state to take part in career exploration and work-based learning opportunities. The trip, organized in part by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education and several private partners, will be the subject of an upcoming public television documentary.
As a lifelong baseball fan, former high school baseball player, and coach for 20 years, I have always been struck by how deeply intertwined baseball and learning really are. An education advocate for most of my career, I have seen firsthand how a passion for sports can shift mindsets and create sustainable pathways to college, meaningful careers, and inspired lives.
More than half of adults in the U.S. would change at least one aspect of their higher education experience, according to a new survey from Gallup and the Strada Education Network. Common regrets were choice of institution and major or field of study. Comparatively, relatively few regretted their degree type.
A majority of Americans who attended college say they received a quality education. But half would change at least one of these three decisions if they could do it all over again: the type of degree they pursued or their choice of major or institution.
CLEVELAND, Ohio – Half of college graduates regret their choice of school or major, according to a national survey.
Approximately half of all U.S. adults who pursued or completed a postsecondary degree would change at least one aspect of their education experience if they could do it all over again, including their major or field of study, the institution they attended, or the type of degree they obtained.
Regrets, I’ve had a few…and so have most Americans — at least when it comes to decisions they’ve made regarding their education. A new Gallup poll out today finds that 51 percent of Americans would change at least one of their education decisions if they had to do it all over again. Thirty-six percent said they’d choose a different major, 28 percent would attend a different school and 12 percent would pursue a different type of degree, according to the poll.
Data analytics has proven to be a powerful tool in a number of industries, and in higher ed, it has significant potential to help institutions streamline operations and improve experiences for students. But in using that data, colleges and universities must also be careful to also consider the underlying causes behind some of those numbers.
This is important news for admissions officers, who may feel that low-income students pose more of a risk at a four-year college or university. These students are just as capable of thriving as those from more affluent households, but institutions and policymakers must also consider that they may need more resources.
In a Monday morning session at the ASU+GSV Summit in Salt Lake City, a panel of thought leaders discussed how to expand access and success, particularly among low-income, first-generation and underrepresented student populations.
INDIANAPOLIS — Higher Education Commissioner Teresa Lubbers recently announced a new initiative, “Roadtrip Indiana,” that aims to help Hoosier students make more informed decisions about their futures through intentional career exploration and direct engagement with employers across the state.
TPT Global Tech, Inc. (OTCQB: TPTW) announced today it has completed its $1.75M Asset acquisition of SpeedConnect LLC (“SpeedConnect”) and the assumption of certain liabilities. The Asset Purchase Agreement required a deposit of $500,000, paid as part of entering into the Asset Purchase Agreement and an additional $500,000 paid at closing.
Strada Education Network, which recently changed its name from USA Funds and is now focused on supporting college completion and success, announced Monday that it had purchased InsideTrack, which provides student coaching services for hundreds of colleges. InsideTrack says it has served 1.5 million students with its outsourced coaching services, which research has found to be effective.
NCAN recently closed the Call for Proposals period for our National Conference that will take place in San Diego from Sept. 11-13, marking an exciting time of the year for us here at NCAN. We look forward to reading about ideas from members and non-members alike across all of the different threads of the college access and success field. We read about exciting ideas, thoughtful approaches, new research, and (near and dear to my heart) how we evaluate what is or is not working. Proposals flood in from every corner of our field and the country.
TRACKING SUCCESS: Student coaching startup InsideTrack has merged with Strada Education Network, a newly formed nonprofit made up of companies focused on student success in higher ed. According to a press announcement, Strada Education will own InsideTrack, which will remain an “independent entity” under CEO Pete Wheelan.
The Jackie Robinson Foundation (JRF) hosted a groundbreaking ceremony in New York City to announce that the start of construction has begun for the highly anticipated Jackie Robinson Museum.
Future. It’s a word that appears in the titles of at least 65 panels at next week’s annual ASU-GSV summit, where educators, innovators, and entrepreneurs will meet in Salt Lake City to talk about the Future of Education for America’s 74 million children, as well as adult learners.