Public-private Partnership will Utilize State Funds to Help Close the Skills Gap and Prepare Adult English Language Learners for Needed Jobs

BAKERSFIELD, CA, Dec 31, 2023 – Pathway to Careers, a public-private partnership initiative in California has just announced a new grant award from the California EDD to help expand its mission to connect adults in underserved communities to career exploration and readiness programs, addressing the acute labor market needs in the Central Valley, and beyond.

With the EDD’s grant award, Pathway to Careers will have a transformative impact on adult English language students by providing them with structured guidance and support to navigate their professional development – offering a clear roadmap and equipping students with the necessary skills, knowledge, and credentials to pursue their desired careers. By tailoring the curriculum to meet the specific demands of adult learners, this initiative accommodates their existing commitments and responsibilities and their specific social and emotional needs.

“Pathway to Careers offers a unique multi-year opportunity to serve adult job seekers in the Central Valley, specifically those who are learning English,” said Dr. Karen Miles, Executive Director of Get Focused Stay Focused. “The grant will allow us to provide a combination of career planning, financial literacy, work-based learning, plus contextualized English skill development in one of four target industries. Students will then enter the workforce with sought-after skills or continue their skill development at their local adult school or community college before entering high-wage, high-demand careers.”

  • A few of the public and private organizations that make up the team include:
    Kern Adult Education Consortium which includes 14 adult education and community college locations in the Central Valley and the Eastern Sierras that provide access to affordable associate degree and certificate programs for adults in areas that have a strong workforce demand.
  • Get Focused Stay Focused, the non-profit partner of curriculum publisher Academic Innovations which provides partner schools with curriculum delivery support to ensure that every student graduates with an informed career plan.
  • EnGen, AI technology that delivers personalized, contextualized, mobile-first English language upskilling – proven to help adult learners meet their educational and employment goals in high-demand fields.
  • GoEducate, a technology platform that offers an Opportunity Marketplace™ where employers can connect in-demand jobs, internships and apprenticeships with local/regional education providers, learners and career seekers to build regional talent pipelines.

This funding opportunity with the EDD is braided with two additional federal and state grants that the project has already received including Perkins and the California Workforce Development Board’s Breaking Barriers to Employment Initiative. In total, the project has been awarded $3.1M for this initiative over four years, so far. Due to the scalability of the model, it will be deployed across all adult school programs in the Kern Adult Education Consortium which covers much of Central California – Kern, Inyo and Mono counties, and parts of Tulare and San Bernardino counties to start – with additional opportunities to grow the impact across California, and beyond.

“The program offers students a sense of direction, by helping them set and achieve realistic goals, while ultimately addressing any gaps in their education or skill sets.” said Thatcher Weldon, Director of the Kern Adult Education Consortium. “Ultimately, these programs can be a catalyst for positive change, enabling adult students to secure fulfilling and sustainable careers,” said Weldon.

About Pathway to Careers:
Pathway to Careers is an equitable career pathway model that serves underserved adult students by inspiring, preparing and equipping them with the necessary tools to secure sustainable employment. This model adopts a holistic approach, beginning with career exploration activities and exposure to various industries to ignite students’ passion and interests. It then provides comprehensive career readiness training, encompassing essential skills development, and addresses any barriers to employment by offering targeted wraparound services as needed. To ensure accessibility, the program leverages technology and online resources, enabling access to remote learning and job search platforms. By tailoring the curriculum to address the specific needs of underserved students and cultivating partnerships with employers, Pathway to Careers creates a seamless transition from education to sustainable employment, empowering students to build rewarding and successful careers. For more information, reach out to Dr. Paul De La Cerda, Program Manager at drpauldlc@gmail.com.

About Get Focused Stay Focused:
A 501c3 non-profit, in partnership with Academic Innovations, the publisher of the Career Choices curriculum series, the Get Focused, Stay Focused National Resource Center works with our partner schools and colleges to support high quality delivery of curriculum and ensure that EVERY student graduates with an informed career choice and up-to-date 10-year plan. To learn more visit getfocusedstayfocused.org.

About The Kern Adult Education Consortium:
Through the Kern Adult Education Consortium, adult schools and community colleges in Kern, Inyo and Mono counties, and parts of Tulare and San Bernardino counties are working together to expand access to adult education and develop programs that align with workforce needs. The consortium works closely with the local Workforce Development Board to determine what certification and training programs it should offer to help students obtain lucrative employment upon graduation. With assistance from the consortium, students have access to affordable associate degree and certificate programs in areas that have a strong workforce demand. To learn more, visit kernaec.org or contact Thatcher Weldon at thatcher.weldon@kccd.edu.

About EnGen:
EnGen is a Certified B Corporation that delivers personalized, contextualized, mobile-first English language upskilling to immigrants, refugees, and speakers of other languages. Using patented technology that has served over 4 million language learners worldwide, EnGen is powered by real-world, career-aligned content and coaching. The platform’s science-based, sector-specific approach is proven to help adult learners – internationally trained professionals and those with limited formal education – meet their educational and employment goals in high-demand fields. Working with Fortune 500 companies, regional employers, higher education, apprenticeship programs, and government institutions, EnGen is advancing economic mobility, workforce inclusion, and talent pipeline development at scale. Learn more at getengen.com.

About GoEducate:
GoEducate is an Opportunity Technology company that connects education programs, job postings including internships and apprenticeships, scholarships, and student resume profiles to help communities address labor market inefficiencies and shortages. GoEducate’s mission is to help students and job seekers by providing them with real-time career insights, academic pathways, and in-demand job opportunities. GoEducate’s Opportunity Marketplace™ solution is designed to improve career exploration, education, CTE and training decision-making, and successful workforce outcomes. GoEducate’s platform uses AI-powered skills matching to connect job seekers with open positions that align with their skills and link open jobs directly to academic programs. The platform provides a clear ROI and line of sight for students interested in pursuing a CTE or higher education pathway. GoEducate partners with education providers, employers, and hiring organizations to improve early talent pipeline development and effective workforce placement. Learn more at GoEducate.io

Media Contact
Andrea De La Cerda | 818.516.9810
Kandula Communications
andrea@kandulacommunications.com