Updated December 2016
A postsecondary education initiative of the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office (CCCCO), Career Advancement Academies (CAAs) are academic and career pathways that target under-prepared young adults (ages 18 to 30) whose low basic skills in reading, writing and mathematics shut them out of high-wage jobs. CAAs help participants develop foundational skills, and remove academic and non-academic barriers to postsecondary education and employment.
Funding is awarded by the CCCCO via grants to participating community college districts. Funding was originally supported from 2007-2015, with renewed funding now available from 2016-2018.
Career pathways are developed in key high-need sectors such as education, healthcare, advanced manufacturing, transportation, and public service. Stackable certifications are embedded in program degree structure, so participants can accumulate credentials and build their qualifications over time.
Strategies vary among CAA programs, and are arranged around five core areas:
CAAs are regional in approach—each participating site involves multiple community colleges and/or districts. Local partners include:
The initiative model uses a “framework of effective practice” that includes cohort-based instruction, along with contextualized teaching and learning to address foundational skills in English and math and to accelerate progress to credentials and ongoing pathways. Existing career technical educations coursed are expanded by adapting and developing content with local employer input.
CAAs offer targeted “transitions” supports, including career guidance, work readiness skills, and career services such as job fairs, internships, and industry visits.
Program framework design guides the coordination of efforts within the initiative to help sustain effective implementation and outcomes.
The innovative, integrative strategies of CAAs can be supported by a number of California career pathways initiatives including:
An initiative impact report notes potential partnership with the Congressional Budget Office and workforce development programs to sustain student support services.
An evaluation of student success outcomes found that measurement metrics could be difficult to obtain through the California Community College Chancellor’s Office Management Information System administrative data. There could be opportunities to improve how data is captured within this system.
Local programs have connected to Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College Career Training grants and the California Career Pathways Trust.
Does this information need updating or adjustment? Send us your suggestions: CAcareerpathway@clasp.org