Prepare for Golden State Pathways

August 29, 2023

The California Department of Education (CDE) took an initial step in the $500 million Golden State Pathways Program (GSPP) with its recent release of RFAs for Lead and Regional Technical Assistance Centers. The technical assistance centers will support recipients of GSPP planning and implementation grants. Those RFAs are projected to be released in mid-winter 2023. K-12 applicants will be able to apply for planning grants, implementation grants, or both.

GSPP seeks to develop or expand college and career pathways in high-wage, high-skill, high-growth areas, and also requires that the pathways provide opportunities to earn at least 12 units of early college credit—a goal that is also embedded in the Governor’s Multi-Year Roadmap for Community Colleges and Vision 2030. College credit in the funded pathways could be offered via Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate courses, or by K-12 grantees partnering with their local community college district to offer College and Career Access Pathway (CCAP) dual enrollment. But it’s important to note that CCAP dual enrollment is designed to be more equitable than AP and IB courses; the original intent of the CCAP legislation was to expand college access to students from communities that are underserved in higher education.

GSPP is an opportunity to develop regional pathways, and has the potential to build on ongoing initiatives and partnerships that span K-12 and postsecondary education—such as K-12 Strong Workforce and the Regional K-16 Education Collaboratives. Notable new efforts from both K-12 and the community colleges will further amplify impact.

The GSPP requirement that pathways provide opportunities to earn at least 12 units of early college credit could leverage work funded by the state’s CCAP and Middle College-Early College (MCEC) dual enrollment grants. Funded high school/college partnerships will be developing, expanding, and strengthening dual enrollment. CDE recently awarded the first round of grants, and a second round RFA is expected later this academic year.

On the postsecondary side, the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office is actively supporting community colleges to partner with high schools in expanding equitable dual enrollment, as evidenced by its new 9th Grade to Baccalaureate strategy.

Planning Resources

CDE published a California Pathways Framework that shares common aspects with other evidence-based frameworks such as the Linked Learning Framework and Quality Standards, which are named in the original GSPP legislation.

Fast Forward California, a partnership of the Linked Learning Alliance, Career Ladders Project, and The Education Trust, is working to strengthen coherence across California’s education and workforce systems to ensure historic investments in Golden State Pathways and Dual Enrollment programs advance education and economic equity. Download the Catalyzing Coherence Workbook and Planning Resource. Sign up for updates on GSPP and helpful resources.

Subscribe to the CDE’s GSPP listserv to receive updates by sending a “blank” message to

UNITE-LA, which supports the L.A. Region K-16 Collaborative, published a digital tool in spring 2023 that outlines 17 related funding streams spanning early childhood to postsecondary education. The tool allows you to filter by grade level, sector, and activity.