Following the State Senate’s tour of career academies at Cabrillo High School last month, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg has authored a bill that aims to improve student career pathways through three new financing avenues.
“When we recently visited Long Beach Unified, students told us that with career academies and small learning communities they were more engaged and focused on their studies,” Steinberg said. “We want a pragmatic way to get industry and business involved in education, combining academic rigor and career relevance.”
Senate Bill 594, the Dropout Reduction and Workforce Development Act of 2013, would provide three new tools to finance the development of career pathways through public-private partnerships:
• Workforce Development Bonds would allow businesses to invest in academic career pathway programs, and to earn a rate of return higher than what’s available in traditional investments. State bond repayment would be linked to contracts outlining performance measurements such as increased graduation rates, internships, apprenticeships and high paying jobs for students.
• Career Pathways Investment Tax Credits would be provided to businesses that invest in academic and work-based learning opportunities. Applications would be reviewed and awarded on a competitive basis.
• Linked Learning Trust Funds would be established in each community college and public school district to finance career pathways programs. The trusts would accept revenue from foundation grants, employment training funds, tax revenues and other sources.