Past projects and themes of CLP’s work

Career Ladders Project has contributed to numerous initiatives to help build career pathways for students and forge workforce development policies that address the needs of employers with the goals of pursuing equity and increasing opportunities for all Californians. We collaborate with state leadership and policy makers to expand and replicate successful projects. And we identify and help to implement policy changes to support the most promising new practices.

Career Advancement Academies

Launched in 2007, the Career Advancement Academies were designed to enable underserved Californians – typically students who were the first in their families to attend college, low-income students, or students from communities of color – to enroll in higher education and adjust to workforce and industry needs. CAAs aimed to increase the supply of middle-skill workers by targeting underprepared  adults ages 18 to 30 whose skills in reading, writing, and math shut them out of postsecondary education and high-wage jobs. CAAs supported students through a holistic set of interventions to build foundational skills for completing postsecondary education and entering a career.

Community College Pathways for Former Foster Youth (CCP)

Community College Pathways for Foster Youth (CCP) was a statewide initiative designed to improve college and career outcomes for former foster youth at 11 California community colleges. It linked community colleges across California, with the goal of supporting former foster youth to achieve their educational goals and access careers with family-sustaining wages and advancement opportunities.

Each year, almost 4,000 youth emancipate from — “age out” of — California’s foster care system. These youth are particularly vulnerable, facing enormous social, economic, and educational challenges, and many struggle to enter and succeed in postsecondary education.

As the coordinating partner, CLP provides technical assistance and professional development, working with colleges individually and collectively to expand and deepen their work with former foster youth.  Through this and other initiatives, we not only help improve services for former foster youth on individual campuses but identify structural and systemic barriers to student success. Based on this work, CLP develops practice and policy recommendations to improve services statewide.

CCP is supported by the Walter S. Johnson Foundation, the Stuart Foundation, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

Design it-Build it-Ship it (DBS)

Design it – Build it – Ship it (DBS) was a 4-year, $14.9 million U.S. Department of Labor-funded initiative in the East Bay under the Obama Administration’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College Career Training (TAACCCT) program.

Education supports for students transitioning from foster care, alternative schools, and incarceration

Sponsored by the Walter S. Johnson Foundation

Connect disadvantaged youth and adults to post-secondary education and high wage, high growth career pathways.

Out-of-school youth, transitioning foster youth, disadvantaged youth and adults.

Workforce Investment Boards, community colleges, social service agencies, community based organizations, foundations.

Bridge to college leading to post-secondary training in high wage, high growth fields and/or degree program

  • 14-18 week intensive learning community
  • 12 college credits (216 hours)
  • Intensive English and math skills
  • In-class counselor
  • Financial aid
  • Social support and case management
  • Orientation to career and educational opportunities
  • Transition to post-secondary training in high wage, high growth career pathway, certificate or AA/AAS degree program.
  • Targeted industries to date: allied health, biotechnology manufacturing, construction and other skilled trades (including aviation, automotive and heavy equipment mechanics), energy and petrochemicals, financial services.


  • Counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Fresno, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Stanislaus
  • 12 community colleges
  • 9 Workforce Investment Boards
  • 6 social service agencies
  • Community based organizations and other community partners


  • Community college per capita support
  • WIA adult and youth training resources
  • Social service agency in/kind support

Information Communications Technologies Study

The Latino Institute for Corporate Inclusion (LICI), in collaboration with the Career Ladders Project, is conducting an Information & Communications Technology (ICT) education and workforce study.  The study, supported through AT&T funding, will examine California college and career pathways leading to increased workforce diversity.   The study is focused on Latinos and African-Americans; who are underrepresented populations in the field.

ICT is the umbrella term that encompasses everything related to computing, software, information, networking and communications technologies. In this study we are focusing on entry and middle-level ICT careers with an interest in increasing diversity and highlighting potential pathways of growth. The information gathered through this study will prove invaluable for California employers, enabling them to plan for their future workforce, develop potential partnerships with educational institutions, and inform their approach to education and training in this sector.

CLP developed an ICT report on labor needs involving a variety of inputs from the literature, industry partners, education, and workforce organizations. It highlighted employer and labor market data to understand the California ICT industry pipelines and projected trends. And it examined community college and California State University offerings that meet ICT industry demands, particularly for students from communities that are underrepresented in ICT industries.

For more information about this report, please contact Luis Chavez, at, or 510.268.0566.

About the Latino Institute for Corporate Inclusion

The mission of the Latino Institute for Corporate Inclusion (LICI) is to promote and advance the role of Latinos in the future growth of Corporate America by establishing cooperative partnerships.    LICI has over 24 years of experience as a Latino advocacy organization in California. Its founders include national leaders on issues involving Latino Veterans affairs, leaders from the Latino business community, Executives focused on Latino students and their families, Latino educators, and Leaders of Latino community based organizations. LICI has alliances with other Latino businesses, professional and community based organizations and extensive experience in addressing workforce needs from both employer and employee perspectives.

For more information, visit

San Mateo County Community College District Initiative

Career Ladders Project worked closely with the San Mateo County Community College District (SMCCCD) and its three colleges — Cañada College, College of San Mateo, and Skyline College — to support the goals of improving the student experience and college completion rates.

This involved three major strategies and reforms: 1) more accurately placing students in English and math with the use of multiple measures, 2) improving early college experience by increasing early credit offerings and 3) offering courses and programs in a more structured and coherent manner.

SAP Oakland Unified School District & Berkeley City College ICT/Digital Media Pathway

Career Ladders Project is honored to build upon our existing relationships with Oakland Unified School District and Berkeley City College with an innovative grant from SAP to collaboratively plan and pilot the first west coast SAP 9-14 Information Communications Technology (ICT)/Digital Media Pathway.

SAP seeks to develop critical talent for the sector, particularly to increase participation and success for students from underrepresented communities. SAP has co-designed with K-14 faculty and staff the development of an innovative virtual mentoring and work-based learning platform with nonprofit iCouldbe.

Concurrent Courses Initiative

The Concurrent Courses Initiative (CCI) was created to demonstrate the feasibility of using dual enrollment programs to enhance college and career pathways for low-income youth who are struggling academically or historically underrepresented in higher education. Funded by The James Irvine Foundation, CCI provided support to eight secondary and postsecondary partnerships in California developing career-focused dual enrollment programs.

Funded through June 2011, CCI was managed and evaluated by the Community College Research Center (CCRC) at Teachers College, Columbia University. Career Ladders Project supported the partners in the initiative through direct assistance with implementation, exchange of effective practices among the partners, and identification of common challenges and emergent solutions.

Linking After-School Employment to Careers

Following the passage of Proposition 49, California made a major commitment to after-school programming; and the availability of After School Education and Safety (ASES) funds led to a surge in after-school programs and created an estimated 12,000 new after-school jobs.

CLP worked with the California Community College Chancellor’s Office to foster partnerships and synergy between the after-school provider community and community colleges in California. Working with other state agencies, educational institutions, workforce development, and community organizations, the colleges and after-school community collaborated in developing a high-quality workforce and high-quality after-school programming.

Linking after-school employment to continuing career pathways in related fields such as education, youth development or other public services gives community college students interested in these fields the opportunity to try out working with youth, gain valuable work experience, and contribute to their communities. After-school employment complements the college-going schedule, enabling community college students to work as after-school employees while pursing their further education.

Promoting a culture of college-going and continued career advancement can strengthen after-school programs, raise aspirations of school-age youth, and address the growing workforce gaps in public service, education, and other occupations serving youth.

Dual Enrollment

Enrolling in community college courses while still in high school

Students who participate in high-quality dual enrollment programs are more likely to graduate high school, enter college, and persist in college to completion, according to national research. Most likely to benefit are the students who are most underrepresented in California community colleges: young men of color, students from low-income families, and first-generation college students. Dual enrollment is a powerful tool for equity.

California Community Colleges Linked Learning Initiative (CCCLLI)

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. 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.

Establishing clear pathways from high school to the full range of postsecondary opportunities is essential to overcoming the structural barriers to educational and career advancement.  The goal of this project is to identify, document and encourage strong, clear and consistent connections between Linked Learning pathway strategies and the innovative career pathway initiatives in California Community Colleges.  Working with partners, such as ConnectEd, CLP hopes to improve higher academicachievement, foster more intentional educational and career transitions from high school, improve college retention, and subsequently, improve college and career success.

High Impact Pathways (HIP)

HIP© is a CLP-guided approach that helps connect progressive levels of education to prepare students for success in both college and career. The pathways framework links systems of education to in-demand 21st century skills, addressing the dynamic needs of today’s students and regional economies.

Communities of Practice

Communities of Practice bring together individuals throughout California who are working on key initiatives with the Career Ladders Project. In addition to their direct work together, community members also give and receive support online through forums and e-communities.

These online forums offer a place to engage in dialogue with colleagues about a specific practice area, discuss practical issues and share expertise, promising practice and resources.

Youth CTE

Instructional Innovations

Bridge programs

Career ladders and pathways

Career technical education - pathways through high school and community college

Career ladders models and schematics

Linked Learning

California Career Pathways Trust (CCPT)

In July 2014, the California Legislature passed and the Governor signed into law the California Education Code, sections 53010 through 53016, and the Budget Act of 2014, Statutes 2014, creating the California Career Pathways Trust (CCPT). Funds in the amount of $250 million will be made available to school districts, county superintendents of schools, direct-funded charter schools, regional occupational centers or programs operated by a joint powers authority, and community college districts in the form of one-time competitive grants.

The Career Ladders Project provides technical assistance to a few of the awarded CCPT sites with a focus on high school to college transitioning, dual enrollment strategies, improved placement, and career pathway development.

MiraCosta College District K-14 Pathway Mapping