Career-planning app for underserved communities

A new partnership between California Community Colleges and Young Invincibles aims to provide college and career planning tools for underserved Californians

SACRAMENTO, Calif.—October 24, 2014— Education offers one of the most reliable paths for young people to create a better life for themselves and their families, but many Californians still lack access to data-driven college and career planning advice. A new project—funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and tailored for the underserved Latino community—aims to change that.

The Foundation for California Community Colleges and the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office have partnered with Young Invincibles, a national organization working to engage young adults on top economic issues, to create a mobile app that will give students and their families in underserved communities information about educational paths available to them through community colleges. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, an independent, private foundation guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, has funded this project through a two-year $375,000 grant.

The app is intended to appeal to Latino students and their families. Information will be available in Spanish and English, beginning with a pilot in California’s Inland Empire region—where low-income Latinos need more preparation for the emerging industry jobs. Young Latinos in California have a lower rate of post-secondary educational attainment than their young black, white, Asian or Native American peers, according to the US Census Bureau. "Students, and particularly Latino students, increasingly depend on their mobile phone to get the information they need on education and employment.  This app will put critical information directly in their hands," said Aaron Smith, co-founder of Young Invincibles (YI) and president of YI Advisors. 

The app aims to increase higher education enrollment of Latino students in alignment with career paths. The mobile app will highlight careers in three employment sectors projected to experience economic growth in the Inland Empire—Advanced Manufacturing, Global Trade and Logistics, and Health—as well as two emergent sectors: Advanced Transportation and Renewables and Information, Communication, and Technology (ICT)/Digital Media. 

The project is part of a larger effort to bridge the skills and jobs mismatch and prepare California’s workforce for 21st century careers under the Doing What Matters for Jobs and the Economy framework created by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office. Support from the Kellogg Foundation is matched by a $500,000 investment by the Chancellor’s Office in California Career Café enhancements, including a series of career exploration videos. The mobile app will draw from existing resources including: California Career Café, a virtual career center for California Community College students, and Salary Surfer with additional information and features that will be customized for Android and iOS mobile devices. 

“This project provides a critical college and career exploration tool for underserved students and their families in an economically distressed region,” said California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice W. Harris. “California Community Colleges career technical education programs offers students pathways to careers to support their families.”

The Inland Empire, which includes Riverside and San Bernardino counties, is projected to experience economic growth across priority and emerging industry sectors, but the population lacks the skills needed to fill these jobs. California Community Colleges are poised to provide these educational and training opportunities. 

"Exploring potential career pathways is critical for all young people to make successful college and career decisions," says Loren Harris, director of Family Economic Security for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. "Too many young people face language or cultural barriers that limit their pathways. We hope this new mobile app helps more young people of color secure higher-wage jobs."

The mobile app aims to reach students as early as middle school, providing information about: academic programs, career options, wage data, and real career stories from parents and alumni. The project will also include collaboration with teachers and counselors to promote use of the application in classrooms in the Inland Empire. 

“This project empowers Latino students and their families to make informed post-secondary education decisions. It will involve collaboration with community leaders and influencers, including: parents, siblings, teachers, counselors, and civic leaders,” added Keetha Mills, Foundation for California Community Colleges President and CEO. “We are proud to work with the Chancellor’s Office, Young Invincibles, and the Kellogg Foundation to help better prepare California’s students to make smart choices about college and career planning.”

About the California Community Colleges

The California Community Colleges is the largest system of higher education in the nation. It is composed of 72 districts and 112 colleges serving 2.1 million students per year. Community Colleges supply workforce training, basic skills courses in English and math, and prepare students for transfer to four-year colleges and universities. The Chancellor’s Office provides leadership, advocacy, and support under the direction of the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges. |

About the Foundation for California Community Colleges

The Foundation for California Community Colleges is the official nonprofit foundation to the California Community Colleges Board of Governors and Chancellor’s Office. The Foundation’s mission is to benefit, support, and enhance the missions of the California Community Colleges system, the largest higher education system in the nation. Incorporated in 1998, the Foundation works with community colleges and partner organizations to manage donations, grants, programs, and services that drive excellence in education. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit corporation and receives no direct state or public support. |

About Young Invincibles

Young Invincibles is a national organization, working to elevate the voices of young adults, ages 18 to 34, and to engage them on the most pressing issues facing their generation. Young Invincibles guarantees that young adults are represented in today’s top societal debates through cutting-edge policy research and analysis, and innovative campaigns that educate, inform and mobilize the Millennial generation to change the status quo. |

About YI Advisors

YI Advisors is the consulting arm of Young Invincibles that harnesses millennial engagement expertise to deliver strategic guidance on how to best reach and build enthusiasm among diverse young adult populations. |

About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation 

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life. The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. |





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