Lessons from California’s Career Advancement Academies

Report cover page: title and decorative imageThe Career Advancement Academies at more than 30 California community colleges offered concrete examples of how to ensure equity for all students, and a new report from Career Ladders Project and Equal Measure outlines how their example can be applied in Guided Pathways redesign. (Many CAAs folded into other community college programs when state funding for them ended in 2017.)

Established in 2007, with state funding and with technical assistance from CLP, the Career Advancement Academies aimed specifically to serve students traditionally underrepresented in higher education. Research by Equal Measure has shown that CAA participants from underrepresented groups have been statistically more likely to complete a certificate, degree, or transfer.

CLP’s report, produced in collaboration with Equal Measure, explores the CAA experience and recommends promising approaches applicable in Guided Pathways reform efforts:

  1. Colleges can more actively recruit students who may not consider college feasible or feel confident about being college students.
  2. Colleges can offer studentsĀ guidance in choosing a major and understanding its connection to careers, and they can clarify the sequencing and availability of their courses.
  3. Colleges can improve awareness of support services, offer integrated and proactive counseling services, and align counselors with academic specialties.
  4. Colleges can more actively foster a sense of community and peer-to-peer support — among faculty and staff, as well as among students.

Prepared by Career Ladders Project
December 2018