ACSA responds to career education plan
February 12, 2024
When Gov. Gavin Newsom announced his Master Plan for Career Education last year, ACSA’s career technical educators, adult educators and others put their heads together to create their list of priorities and make their voices heard.
Newsom released his plan via executive order in August 2023, calling for better alignment of skills training and other aspects of career and technical education (CTE) with “the real-life needs of students, workers and businesses.” The order directed several state agencies and departments to submit their master plan to the governor’s office by Oct. 1, 2024.
In November, ACSA sent its response to the Master Plan directive and listed organizational priorities to strengthen career pathways and hands-on learning. Specifically, ACSA made the following four recommendations:
  • Streamline current grant programs and funding streams;
  • Link adult education and other concurrent state initiatives regarding workforce development;
  • Address CTE teacher staffing and credentialing issues; and
  • Prioritize at-promise students.
Increasing coordination among state agencies and partners is key to success, ACSA wrote in its letter signed by Executive Director Edgar Zazueta. For President Lisa Rodriguez of ACSA’s Career Technical Education Council, a new system for grant programs and funding could help ease the workload of local education agencies.
“With local education agencies operating bifurcated systems with different eligibility and reporting requirements, this often causes unnecessary work at the local level and involves coordinating with multiple state agencies,” said Rodriguez, who is director of student services for Kings County Office of Education. “Ideally, a new streamlined system would
also remove the competitiveness between programs that usually doesn’t benefit students.”
The state must also consider the educator workforce shortage that affects all parts of the California education community, including CTE, she said.
“Addressing CTE teacher staffing and credential issues will be another critical aspect of the new Master Plan,” Rodriguez said. “We need to incentivize industry experts to pursue their credential since their expertise makes these courses come to life for our students.”
Another vital part of improving career education is improving adult education pathway programs, ACSA said in its letter.
“When high school students turn 18 and have yet to complete their diploma or have started a career pathway, the adult education programs allow them to acquire their industry recognized certifications along with their diplomas,” said ACSA Adult Education Council President Thoibi Rublaitus. “Recent adult education collaborations with workforce and employment development initiatives also allow adult schools to offer career training education to English language learners in high paying career pathways such as nursing, construction trades and more.”
Rublaitus, who is principal of Corona-Norco Adult School in Corona-Norco USD, added that the master plan could also assist adult education’s integrated education training programs, which help immigrant and low socio-economic-status families integrate into society.
ACSA staff and members will continue to advocate for their recommendations during the development of the master plan.
“We are eager to work with you and all respective state agencies to streamline efforts, prioritize students and maximize students’ career exploration and pathways that will help them uncover their potential,” Zazueta wrote.