Establishing clear roadmaps for Linked Learning Academy graduates to access the full range of postsecondary opportunities is essential to overcoming structural barriers to educational and career advancement. Students who successfully navigate California Community Colleges (CCC) to earn a community college degree or certificate nearly double their earnings within three years. However, only half of CCC degree or certificate-seeking students ever complete that process, and the rate is much lower for African American and Latino students.
The goal of the CCC Linked Learning Initiative is to extend the promise of Linked Learning into post-secondary education. CCCLLI aims to strengthen the connections between Linked Learning High Schools and their local community colleges. Using the CA Linked Learning District Initiative as a launching point, involved partners are working to align and extend pathways into the community colleges and other post-secondary institutions. This new demonstration project—funded by the James Irvine Foundation—supports a structured system of early outreach and support for Linked Learning Academy students focused on industry-supported community college pathways, a transition program that prepares students for postsecondary success in a career pathway program, and ongoing student services and academic support while in college. At the same time, colleges and their high school partners will be supported to build dual enrollment opportunities, alternative assessment strategies, and contextualized, articulated coursework and student services support. The Career Ladders Project will work with instructional leaders in several community colleges throughout the state to document the practices that foster more intentional educational and career transitions from high school, improve college retention and academic achievement, and subsequently, improve college and career success for graduates of Linked Learning High School programs.