Thursday, March 28, 2013

Senator Steinberg recognizes School Dropout Problem


Steinberg Unveils Measure to Enhance Industry and Education Partnerships in Student Career Pathways

SB 594 – The Dropout Reduction and Workforce Development Bond Act of 2013
(Sacramento) – Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg has announced the Dropout Reduction and Workforce Development Bond Act of 2013, which will provide more career-oriented curriculum and training for California students by enhancing the connections between schools and industry. Through these new business-school partnerships, students will have more opportunities for career training leading toward middle class jobs, while business and industry will benefit from growth in California’s skilled workforce.
SB 594 would provide three new tools to finance the development of career pathways through these public-private partnerships. Programs serving economically disadvantaged students in school districts with high dropout rates will be given priority for funding.
“Too many of our students are dropping out because they don’t see any connection with what they’re learning in school and the careers they want to pursue. At the same time, many in our high growth industries complain that there’s a shortage of skilled workers,” said Steinberg. “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. We want a pragmatic way to get industry and business involved in education, combining academic rigor and career relevance. Encouraging their investment will pay off with more success for our students and a stronger workforce in our state.”

The three financing tools under SB 594 are:
Workforce Development Bonds – Allow industry and businesses to invest in academic career pathway programs, 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 jobs for students in high wage industries.
Career Pathways Investment Tax Credits – Authorizes tax credits for businesses which, in partnership with public schools, invest in academic and work-based learning opportunities. Applications would be reviewed and awarded on a competitive basis through a committee chaired by the Chancellor of California Community Colleges and including the California Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Linked Learning Trust Funds – Trusts funds would be established in each community college and public school district to finance career pathways programs. The trusts can accept revenue from any source, including foundation grants, employment training funds, Community Reinvestment Act funds, tax revenues, apportionments and loans.
Among those joining Pro Tem Steinberg in support during the press conference announcement were Allan Zaremberg, President and CEO of the California Chamber of Commerce; Dennis Cima, Senior Vice President for the Silicon Valley Leadership Group; Jonathan Raymond, Superintendent of the Sacramento City Unified School District; Jack Stewart, President of the California Manufacturers and Technology Association; Andrew Giacomini of the Bay Area Council, Stephanie Roberson of the California Nurses Association; Cesar Diaz of the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California; Van Ton-Quinlivan, Vice Chancellor of California Community Colleges; and Dr. Irene Fujii of the California Association of Regional Occupational Centers and Programs (CAROCP).
Please find attached a fact sheet for SB 594. Those interested in arranging photo or video opportunities of current career pathway academy programs in Sacramento City Unified may call the District’s Communications Director, Gabe Ross, at (916) 752-3705.
The press conference will be posted and available for viewing later in the day at http://sd06.senate.ca.gov/

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