In 2001, the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges called for the formation of a statewide comprehensive career ladders initiative, entitled Ladders of Opportunity, to ensure access to post-secondary career pathways for under-served populations and to meet the labor force needs in the state. The Career Ladders Project was established by the Board to carry this initiative forward.

The Project initially researched and assessed the challenges and opportunities facing community colleges and their regional workforce partners in developing career pathways. This work resulted in policy recommendations and an action plan to move community colleges and the state toward realization of the career ladders vision set forth in Ladders of Opportunity; these were incorporated into the new Strategic Plan adopted by the Board of Governors in January 2006.

The Career Ladders Project operates under the auspices of the Foundation for California Community Colleges, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and is the official auxiliary to the California Community Colleges system.

The Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges adopted a major policy statement calling for a comprehensive, statewide Career Ladders Initiative Ladders of Opportunity: A Board of Governors' Initiative For Developing California's New Workforce. Founded upon this framing document, the Career Ladders Project (CLP) aims to improve post-secondary career pathway access and completion for underserved populations.

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Helping youth and adults succeed in today’s knowledge-based economy requires a new approach to meet workforce requirements, an approach that brings together educators, employers and workers to create ladders of opportunity. The Career Ladders Project for the California Community Colleges was created to help realize this goal.

Located in Oakland, California, the Career Ladders Project is a dynamic organization which consults and partners with community colleges throughout California to help implement educational and career pathways to ensure that disadvantaged youth and adults receive education and training that will meet the real demands of employers in the 21st century—and lead them to high-wage, high-demand careers.

To reach this goal, the Career Ladders Project provides strategic advice and technical assistance to community colleges and their workforce partners on building career pathways and bridge programs. We pursue policy initiatives and make research-based recommendations regarding career ladders from a systems approach. The Project also plays a role in a broad variety of privately and publicly funded programs and initiatives currently operating throughout California’s community colleges. As these initiatives mature, we work with state leadership and policy-makers to promote expansion and replication of successful projects as well as policy changes that support effective practices.

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