Creating a System to Connect College to Career
Hartnell College’s role in the Salinas Valley has grown beyond education and training to reflect a deeper commitment to students’ post-graduation employment and careers. Several statewide initiatives incentivize this more expansive role for the college. The California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Vision for Success names ambitious goals for the system, including increasing the number of graduates who report being employed in their field of study and earning higher wages. The Strong Workforce Program supports colleges financially and provides a statewide infrastructure to connect college with careers, with a special emphasis on K-12 partnerships. The Guided Pathways initiative provides a framework for reorganizing colleges with students at the center, including mapping all degrees and certificates to careers. And the increasing statewide emphasis on equity has helped to validate the work of colleges to decrease equity gaps and increase the number of women and students of color in fields where they have been underrepresented.
Hartnell’s Strategic Plan 2019-2024 embraces this commitment to student employment. “Students who do not intentionally explore career interests, are not directed to career placement options early on in their studies, or fail to connect learning to prospective employment outcomes, may not engage in the most productive learning experiences or otherwise be optimally prepared for available jobs,” the plan states. “Working alongside regional employers, Hartnell is fully committed to improving student employment opportunities subsequent to training or completion.” Hartnell has focused on employment in three strategic sectors that offer strong growth and livable wages: agriculture, health, and education.
Prepared by Career Ladders Project