Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order introducing a new education effort to prepare students and adults for careers and reduce employment barriers to state jobs.
The order directs the state to align and integrate programs supported by billions of dollars in funding to prepare students for their future in the workforce.
“All families, students, and workers deserve the freedom to succeed: to build real-life skills and pursue careers — including those that don’t require college degrees,” Newsom said. “California is leveraging billions of dollars in investments to prepare students and workers for good-paying, long-lasting and fulfilling careers.”
The executive order calls for the state to create a master plan for career education in the next 13 months. It also directs state leaders in education and workforce development to work with leaders of the state’s public education systems and employers.
The executive order will target students at the beginning of high school. First year students will be encouraged to discover careers, ones that do require a degree and others that do not, to ensure students experience a variety of options.
During the press conference, Newsom presented the idea of a “career passport” that looks at a student’s marketable skills and not just their grades.
Through paid earn-and-learn opportunities students will have the chance to learn by doing and implement real-life skills that can be certified and reflected on academic records.
The Governor’s office said California will reduce the costs of career training and education and simplify access to support — including financial aid, career guidance and disability services — by streamlining confusing bureaucracies.
“This is a team effort, it is a collective effort and it is long overdue,” Newsom said.
CSU Chancellor Elect, Mildred Garcia, along with the state’s other top public education and workforce leaders joined the Governor as he signed the executive order.
“I am so pleased to partner with Gov. Newsom in support of growing our state’s diverse and educated workforce enhancing the career technical education pipeline,” Garcia said during the press conference.
Garcia pledged to deepen the CSU’s relationship with those present at the signing and the constituencies they represent.
“California, because of Gov. Newsom, will be the model of the nation in making sure that we educate all Californians to be career-ready and to be back in their neighborhoods where they lift their neighborhoods,” Garcia said.
The Career Center at Cal Poly Pomona offers services preparing students to be career-ready when they graduate. The center holds mock interviews, helps with writing resumes and connects students with potential employers.
Jessica Gaitan, a post graduate student at Cal Poly Pomona, said she plans to ask the career center for help with composing her resume.
Gaitan is studying to become a teacher and said the governor’s executive order was welcome news.
“The hands-on learning approach is what we do here are Cal Poly,” Gaitan said. “It works very well for us. Students in rest of the state could really benefit from that.”
The career center also hosts career fairs on campus. Tracee Passeggi, director of the Career Center, said over 400 organizations were on campus at this year’s fall career fair.
“Five years ago, almost 75% of employers were looking at GPA as one of the main identifiers,” Passeggi said. “That number is lower than 40% now which tells us that employers are looking for other skills and other competencies.”
The Governor’s executive order directs the California Human Resources Department to evaluate whether a college degree is needed for a particular position when its classification is reviewed.
CalHR said it’s developing a campaign that will educate and increase awareness about the different paths toward state employment. The campaign will walk prospective applicants at all levels and abilities through the state application and hiring process, as well as highlight hiring events like their Oct. 3 “No Degree Required Job Fair.”
CalHR has already removed barriers to employment from 169 job classifications where a degree or other education requirements are not necessary. It said this effort will expand opportunity and access to well-paying jobs in public service.
CalHR said it will continue to evaluate classifications for potentially unnecessary education requirements as it works on additional classification consolidations.
Feature image courtesy of The Office of the Governor