08/18/2022

Infusion of Money for Career Education in State Budget

Programs that prepare students for college and careers are about to get a jolt of one-time state money that supporters are counting on to lead to a permanent and sustainable expansion of programs.

The state budget that took effect Monday includes an extra $250 million in grants for a variety of programs, collectively known as career technical education, for K-12 districts, charter schools and community colleges. State leaders are hoping that business leaders will see the extra money as an incentive to step up their involvement through internships and donations of time, money and equipment.

The money was added in the final budget negotiations at the insistence of Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, who has led efforts to inject career-oriented programs into high school curricula and to give more credit to districts that offer them through the state’s academic accountability system, the Academic Performance Index.

The money will be dispensed, not uniformly per student, but through competitive grants of up to three years, with a priority given to those districts that have matching contributions from industry partners, especially for high-need, high-growth sectors of the economy. So it’s in districts’ interest to work together regionally with some of the larger industries, like Kaiser Permanente, Disney and Pacific Gas and Electric.

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