The Oakland Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with school districts, community colleges, and industry employers from Contra Costa to Hayward, is actively addressing the need to align educational opportunities with the workforce needs of industry in the region. A prime example of the Chamber’s work is the recently launched East Bay Linked Learned Hub of Excellence, a multi-year initiative made possible with the support of James Irvine Foundation. By turning high school education into a personally relevant, engaging experience for all students, Linked Learning exposes them to previously unimagined college and career opportunities. Research shows that Linked Learning students have higher rates of engagement and higher graduation rates than their peers at traditional high schools. This approach to education is helping to create an engaged, disciplined, and productive future workforce for California, ready to succeed in college, career, and life. Find out more about Linked Learning here.
Linked Learning Update - June 13, 2016
The Chamber, in its role as the Anchor of the East Bay Linked Learning Hub of Excellence, is pleased that its work connecting and coordinating industry partners and school programs is showing early results.
On June 13th two Merritt College students begin 10-week internships with the Lawrence Livermore National Lab’s Cyber Defenders program. This intensive scientist-lead summer program has students working in teams on real problems being investigated at the Lab.
The students are graduates of the Merritt College Cyber Security Program, and the internships are the first phase of a developing partnership between the school and LLNL that was initiated and coordinated by the Chamber’s industry engagement work. The partnership extends to technical support for the build out of a full computer science degree offering which includes an accelerated math curriculum designed to help students with limited math backgrounds attain a level of proficiency sufficient to insure success in the study of engineering and computer science. The Lab is also partnering on resource development in support of this build out, and the continuation of student internships.
The Chamber sees this effort as a model for industry participation in the development of career pathway education in the region.
What is the East Bay Linked Learning Hub of Excellence?
The Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with school districts, community colleges, and industry employers from Contra Costa to Hayward, is actively addressing the need to align educational opportunities with the workforce needs of industry in the region.
A prime example of the Chamber’s work is the recently launched East Bay Linked Learned Hub of Excellence, a multi-year initiative made possible with the support of James Irvine Foundation. Part of the broader effort underway in California known as “Linked Learning,” the initiative integrates academics with career-based learning and real-world workplace experiences. The Chamber’s role in the program is to serve as the central anchor organization that connects education, industry, and government partners to further develop work-based learning in the region.
As the program’s lead and anchor intermediary in the East Bay, the Chamber is responsible for developing and coordinating regional strategy to create and strengthen career pathways. The overall goal of the Chamber’s effort is to create more and better career opportunities for our region’s young people.
What is a career pathway?
A well-developed career pathway is a strong partnership with education, industry, and government partners that systematically builds awareness of, interest in, and skills for high-demand jobs. By way of example, a career pathway may initially begin with a workplace tour or career fair to build awareness of the range of available careers. It might then include a job shadow to allow individuals to further explore career opportunities. From there, the next step in a career pathway might be a paid internship to allow students to further develop their skills. Finally, a career pathway might include a paid job featuring robust on-the-job training to allow students to develop a mastery of job skills.
Career pathways can be developed for a range of industries based on industry needs. The East Bay Hub of Excellence is in the process of developing career pathways for the following sectors: computer science, advanced manufacturing, health care, cyber security, and transportation and logistics.
Get involved: Education and industry partnerships
The Chamber has hired two East Bay Linked Learning Hub of Excellence staff members that may be contacted for more information about education and industry partnerships. Courtney Riley (email@example.com) serves as the Linked Learning Program manager, with a focus on working with and developing new education partners to scale Linked Learning practices. Mark Butler (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the Hub’s Industry Engagement Director and works with regional industry employers to connect them with work-based learning opportunities.
Education and Industry Working Together: Linked Learning Hub of Excellence
Through the Linked Learning collaboration going on between the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) and local businesses – in which the Chamber of Commerce has played a significant part – high school student interns in OUSD college and career pathways programs contribute a combined 27,500 hours to over 61 local Oakland companies every July.
This is one of the many benefits of Linked Learning – where students get real life work experience that relates to what they’re studying in the classroom, a proven way to keep kids in school and inspire higher achievement and graduation levels, while also teaching basic professional skills.
Student interns prepare for their summer internship experience in Oakland companies for two years by participating in lessons and work-based learning opportunities through Oakland’s Exploring College and Career Options (ECCO) program. Fremont High School Media Academy teacher Jasmine Miranda reports that, “ECCO is hitting the mark. Hosts are so thrilled that ECCO students come with training, support, case management, and a year’s worth of internship prep curriculum under their belt.”
The goals of the summer internship program are to promote students’ interest in post-secondary education and to develop the skills that are required to be successful in the 21st century workplace. An internship that provides a rich learning environment sends an important message to students: learning and earning are intrinsically related. Student interns work full-time or part-time in the workplace on their project and receive an educational stipend and school credit. They are supervised during the summer by OUSD teachers who act as a liaison to the work site supervisors.
Host companies are asked to identify a project to which students can contribute over a five-week period. Some of the projects student interns have participated in include: managing a database to assist with a community relations campaign, creating brochures explaining services and training, advertising and marketing a fundraising event, updating social media and online presence for your company, researching real estate values for an upcoming bond measure, data entry and analysis.
Company hosts report that ECCO interns bring an impressive array of technology skills to their work, ranging from Microsoft Office applications, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, web page development and maintenance, data entry and analysis. Ayo Akatugba, a teacher from the Green Energy Academy says, “Partners are so excited. They really cannot believe that students can complete the high level skills that they do at work sites. This program really works. Students are deepening learning, and partners are excited to be at work because of the students.”
Chamber of Commerce members who are interested in finding ways to partner with Oakland Unified School District college and career pathway students and teachers can contact Gilbert Pete, OUSD Workforce and Economic Development Coordinator, at email@example.com or visit Linked Learning Design Lab/Industry Partners at www.ousd.org.
An Update from the Superintendent
by Superintendent of Schools Antwan Wilson
A year ago I joined the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) to lead reform and change. In the first few months, we worked together to develop a plan to fulfill our vision that every student thrives, i.e. that they graduate ready for college, career, and community success. That plan, the Pathway to Excellence 2015-2020 Strategic Plan, was crafted with input from business and community, and adopted unanimously by our Board last November. It had three simple goals:
1. Effective talent programs: To become a great district, we need great people at every level. We must recruit, retain, and develop the best people to become the premier education employer in the Bay Area.
2. Accountable school district: We must be a professional managed and operated district that lifts up and supports our schools and community. We must run like the best-run businesses with a relentless focus on high quality customer service.
3. Quality community schools: The end goal of all of our work is quality schools for our children. This means a well-rounded education, full-service school, from early childhood education to linked learning pathways in our high schools that provide options for all of our children from our most needy to most talented and everyone in between. It is an ambitious though obtainable goal, and one we have a moral obligation to pursue. Oakland is a great community and deserves great quality schools.
Each goal has specific, measureable, stretch metrics for us to hit by 2020. I encourage you all to read it at www.everystudentthrives.org.
Our plan did not just sit on the shelf. We pulled together volunteers to staff strategic plan committees with specific charges to advance the work forward. We received nearly five applications for every spot available, and selected a talented cross-section of our community to join us in joint problem-solving. These folks met weekly for six months to do the work. The results of this included specific recommendations we are putting in place, including the following examples:
· 2020 Community Schools Framework & Quality School Development Policy: Bold vision and strong accountability framework for quality school measures to drive continuous improvement.
· Bond allocation criteria: Clear criteria around prioritizing bond funding to utilize our limited resources for optimal public good.
· District-Charter Compact: Moving beyond the charter vs. district model to a “One District” pro-public school model that ensures an even playing field for all.
· Diverse Talent Recruitment & Development Strategy: Strategies and practices to attract and retain a more diverse and talented workforce at every level.
While this is groundwork we are laying toward our 2020 goals, we are also making huge progress along the way. The following are just a couple of our major successes this year:
· For the first time in decades, we reached good and fair agreements with most of our bargaining units, which represent about 85 percent of our workforce. Not only will we get our teachers closer to the median teacher pay in the region (and they already have the best benefits), we lowered class sizes five years ahead of a state mandate, created an incentive/bonus structure for principals to serve the most challenging schools and secured critical flexibility for school communities to have a role in hiring teachers and for innovative programs to operate the way they need to succeed.
· Despite a rocky start – even more than I expected – our five Intensive Support Schools are advancing toward bold transformation. Through deep community engagement, the families, students, and residents in these school communities joined us to rethink in a transformative way how they are going to achieve long-term, sustainable, and quality education.
· Early student performance indicators are positive. With increases in student reading progress, reductions in suspensions, and increases in English Language Learners transitioning to English proficiency.
· Finally, we are on trajectory to complete all of our fiscal audits and be caught completely up. This improved financial picture bodes well for us as we implement the Pathway to Excellence.
There are so many more successes to share – from new curriculum, to implementing restorative practices, and stronger partnerships with organizations like the Chamber of Commerce. Perhaps one of the best indicators of success is that new funders are coming in to support this work. We are renewing and deepening our relationships with Chamber leaders like Kaiser, and new funders like Intel are contributing to specific technology diversity initiatives. We also were lucky enough to be part of the historically generous $34 million recent contribution to equity work across Oakland.
The bottom line is that we are making progress on our Pathway to Excellence. The Chamber has been part of this progress and will surely continue to be going forward, which our students and families deeply appreciate.
Antwan Wilson is superintendent of the Oakland Unified School District.
Opportunities for Outreach: Oakland Unified School District (OUSD)
1. Volunteer as a “practice interviewer” at the Internship Readiness Fair, Tuesday March 24th, 4-7pm.
Please join us at our 2015 Internship Readiness Fair on Tuesday, March 24! We are seeking volunteers to conduct mock interviews and review resumes for our 11th grade students preparing for summer internships. http://www.ousd.k12.ca.us/Page/12161
2. Donate PC and other computer equipment to OTX, refurbishment partner for OUSD
OTX West partners with educators and community advocates to provide Internet access solutions that create equity for ALL East Bay residents. Donate not only your equipment, but your time to create PC packages for students and families in the Oakland Area. http://www.otxwest.org/
3. Fund the cause to close the connectivity gap for Oakland families
Get Connected Oakland is a Public-Private Partnership initiative to reduce and eliminate the digital divide in Oakland. We work to ensure that all Oakland families have access to free or low-cost broadband, good, working computers, and digital literacy training. http://getconnectedoakland.org
4. Support East Bay College Fund with your time or your donations
East Bay College Fund helps resilient public school students, under-represented in higher education, access and succeed in college, expanding their life opportunities. We aspire to involve the whole community in providing college access services, scholarships, mentoring, and support networks to assist these young people in realizing their full potential. http://www.eastbaycollegefund.org/
5. Host a high school student for a summer internship
The College and Career Readiness Office within OUSD sponsors Work Experience Education for qualified high school students entering their senior year, working 4 days a week for 5 weeks. http://www.linkedlearningousd.org/ECCO_WEE
6. Become a Linked Learning community partner – as a guest speaker or mentor
Getting involved with Linked Learning Initiatives is an extremely valuable contribution on behalf of your business or organization. Community partners can serve as guest speakers to students in career pathways related to their industry. Providing examples of potential career opportunities is a great learning experience for students and a valuable teaching tool for teachers. http://www.linkedlearningousd.org/become_a_partner
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