CCP focuses on linking community colleges across California in order to strengthen outcomes for former foster youth in achieving postsecondary educational goals as well as accessing careers with family-sustaining wages and advancement opportunities. The CCP community of practice has a particular focus on collective strategies which demonstrate effective instructional outcomes for former foster youth and increase connections with career pathways.
Each year, over 4,000 youth emancipate from, or “age out” of, the foster care system. These youth represent one of California’s most vulnerable populations, facing enormous social, economic, and educational challenges. In the face of these challenges, many struggle to enter and succeed in postsecondary education. However, without access to and achievement in post-secondary educational institutions, former foster youth are extremely limited in their ability to find employment that will be personally rewarding and provide financial stability.
The Career Ladders Project, as the coordinating partner, provides direct support in the form of technical assistance and professional development, working with over twenty colleges and universities to expand and deepen their work with former foster youth. Through CCP and other initiatives, the Career Ladders Project not only works to improve services for former foster youth on individual community college campuses, but also to identify structural and systemic barriers to student success as well as to develop practice and policy recommendations that will improve services statewide.
Since 2009 CCP has been supported by the Walter S. Johnson Foundation, the Stuart Foundation, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and operates in close partnership with California College Pathways. The Career Ladders Project operates under the auspices of the Foundation for California Community Colleges, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and the official auxiliary to the California Community Colleges.