UNITE-LA Applauds Master Plan for Career Education

Laser focused on equitable, economic mobility through education and workforce development, UNITE-LA applauds the Governor’s Executive Order to create a Master Plan for Career Education. A state task force has kicked off a public engagement plan and already identified numerous challenges and potential solutions to developing a cohesive, statewide approach to education and training pathways.

UNITE-LA is excited to work with our education and workforce partners to co-develop the state’s Master Plan, starting with an interactive design session for Los Angeles and Orange Counties’ career education stakeholders on March 8 in Long Beach. As the proud convener of the L.A. Region K-16 Collaborative, UNITE-LA is honored to support the Governor’s Office in gathering systems leaders to co-design the Master Plan.

Throughout UNITE-LA's 26-year history, including 16 years of convening the L.A. Compact, the organization’s premier systems-change initiative, we have supported education and workforce systems’ leaders in their collaborative efforts to advance work-based learning policy and programs for youth and young adults. Through UNITE-LA-led initiatives and programs that champion systems-change and intersegmental collaboration, such as the L.A. Region K-16 Collaborative, Opportunity Youth Collaborative, Cleantech Academy, and Golden State Pathways implementation, the region has learned a great deal about challenges to work-based learning the Master Plan must mitigate:

  • While employers express deep interest in offering internships, many lack dedicated staff and access to best practice models to design and manage meaningful youth workforce experiences.
  • Employers must balance hiring for today’s economic needs and training employees for future opportunities, resulting in internship demand outpacing supply.
  • Many internship programs operate outside of schools and learning environments, rather than integrating the classroom with the worksite.
  • Young people from under-resourced communities often need additional support, such as transportation, child care, and professional mentors, to equitably access work-based learning opportunities.
  • Employers don’t have capacity to engage with hundreds of competing requests from K-12 schools, higher ed institutions, CBOs and workforce programs across the state.

The Master Plan could address existing issues and advance equitable access to work-based learning by:

  • Creating strong incentives for employers to create work-based learning opportunities for young people from under-resourced communities. This could include tax breaks, dedicated state funding for paid internships and supportive services, support for hosting short-term employees, and addressing liability concerns for minors.
  • Investing in sector intermediaries at state and regional levels to coordinate employer engagement in a way that makes it easier for employers to engage in work-based learning at scale.
  • Creating and sustaining structures for collaboration between education and workforce systems and employers. Deep, ongoing partnership is needed to ensure education pathways are informed by industry needs and to support employers with advancing equitable hiring and advancement practices.
  • Encouraging greater integration of staffing and resources across education and workforce development systems to connect learning inside and outside the classroom.
  • Bolstering supportive services to increase the accessibility and affordability of workforce programming for both in- and out-of-school young people, such as efforts to make Metro free for all students and flexible funding to address housing, child care and technology needs.

UNITE-LA looks forward to partnering with the state and numerous education, workforce development and equity leaders to co-develop a Master Plan for Career Education that moves us closer to our vision of a diverse and inclusive rising workforce that experiences equitable economic mobility and well-being, resulting in thriving regions. If you would like to contribute thoughts or recommendations, please:

  1. Sign up for updates: careereducation.gov.ca.gov/master-plan-engage.
  2. Fill out the interest form for a statewide virtual session, offered to ensure additional education and workforce leaders across the state can contribute to the Master Plan development, even if they aren’t able to attend the in-person session (date TBD): Click here!

In partnership,

Alysia Bell
President, UNITE-LA

UNITE-LA’s work to advance the CA Master Plan for Career Education is made possible in part by philanthropic support from California State University, Long Beach; the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation; and the Michelson 20MM Foundation.

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