10/31/2020

Businesses Can Help California Schools Train Students for ‘New Collar’ Jobs

Job growth in California has been robust since the last recession. But recently that growth has slowed because of the lack of employable workers. The projected shortage of skilled workers in the state through 2030 is more than a million graduates with bachelor’s degrees as well as hundreds of thousands of workers with two-year associate’s degrees and certificates. Only 39 percent of the state’s workers are trained to the “middle-skill” level, according to an analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics.

Filling that talent pipeline will be a challenge unless we can better prepare students for 21st century jobs.

A promising public-private partnership is taking shape in the Legislature that focuses on high school and college completion, along with meaningful workplace experiences. State Sen. Anthony Portantino is sponsoring legislation to create the California State Pathways in Technology. If successful, this legislation would provide state funding for a proven educational program already delivering results in 90 schools in seven states.

P-Tech schools would address the educational achievement challenge in California through an innovative model for grades nine through 14 that encompasses high school, college and industry. In addition to their high school diplomas, P-Tech students earn a two-year associates degree at no cost and develop the workplace skills necessary for employment in the 21st century “new collar” workforce.

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