K-16 Education Collaborative Grant Program Aims to Increase Quality Career Opportunities for Students
December 06, 2023

Grants totaling $36.2 million have been awarded to two regional collaboratives that include Stanislaus State as part of the K-16 Education Collaborative Grant Program. 

The funds were awarded in early November by the California Department of General Services (DGS), Office of Public School Construction and the Foundation for California Community Colleges. 

The grant program aims to provide students with quality career opportunities in their local communities by improving access to higher education and workforce opportunities. It’s part of a statewide strategy for strengthening regional economies, improving education-to-career pathways and ensuring that education, vocational and workforce programs work in partnership to provide broader access to education and employment opportunities. 

“Every Californian should have the freedom to succeed by obtaining real-life skills and fulfilling careers — including those that don’t require college degrees,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said when the grants were announced. “With today’s investment, California is yet again going further to prepare students and workers for high-paying, long-lasting and fulfilling careers.” 

In the recent round of funding, four regional collaboratives received state grants of nearly $18.1 million each. It was the second phase of the K-16 grant program’s funding. In the first phase, nearly $163 million in grants were awarded in 2022 to nine regional collaboratives.  

The two collaboratives that include Stan State cover 10 counties in the Northern San Joaquin Valley and Eastern Sierra regions. The Northern San Joaquin Valley collaborative is led by UC Merced and the Eastern Sierra collaborative is led by Columbia College. 

The Northern San Joaquin Valley collaborative covers Stanislaus, Merced and San Joaquin counties. The collaborative is titled “WE WILL!” and has a stated goal of strengthening education and workforce partnerships while streamlining pathways from high school to postsecondary education and into the workforce to provide high-quality talent in high-demand industry sectors. In the planning stages, the collaborative has been working to promote pathway equity and access while reducing barriers for all students and job seekers. 

In addition to Stan State and UC Merced, the “WE WILL!” collaborative includes Merced College, Modesto Junior College, San Joaquin Delta College, offices of education from all three counties, K-12 school districts, economic development agencies and local and regional employers. 

The Eastern Sierra collaborative covers seven counties: Tuolumne, Calaveras, Amador, Alpine, Mariposa, Inyo and Mono. It is titled “Sierra K-16: Workforce Ready, Future Engaged” and states its focus is on creating regional education-to-career pipelines and a “cradle-to-career" strategy in its region. 

In addition to Stan State and Columbia College, Eastern Sierra collaborative partners include UC Merced, seven county superintendents of schools, Adventist Health Sonora, Apple Inc., several K-12 districts, workforce investment boards and the Mariposa, Amador, Calaveras and Tuolumne Health Board, Inc.