NEW YORK, Jan. 22, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The Atlantic Philanthropies and The California Endowment today announced $12.2 million in grants to the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) and Alameda Health Care Services Agency (HCSA) to support and expand health career pathways in Oakland, with the goal of improving academic and long-term employment outcomes.
"In the next several years, we are expecting over 10,000 job openings in the healthcare field in Alameda County. Yet despite the explosion of opportunities, too many students in Oakland are dropping out of high school or graduating without the skills necessary to secure jobs that pay a living wage," said Naomi Post, Head, Community Based Programmes, US Programmes at The Atlantic Philanthropies. "We are proud to support the efforts underway in the OUSD in partnership with HCSA to connect instruction to real world applications, and students to rewarding careers that improve the health of their own community."
Support from these grants will expand college and career readiness programs and internship opportunities for Oakland high school students, and will expose middle school students to a broad range of healthcare careers. "We have the opportunity to increase students' success while expanding and diversifying the healthcare work force to be more reflective of the people it serves," said Sandra Davis, Program Manager, East Oakland at The California Endowment, which will grant $1.2 million over three years to the Alameda County Health Pipeline Partnership (ACHPP) at HCSA. ACHPP is a consortium of health pathways programs that provide mentorship, academic enrichment, leadership development, and career exposure to disadvantaged and minority youth. The grant will be aimed at enhancing ACHPP's capacity and role in strengthening regional health career pathway infrastructures and systems, with the goal of expanding equity, opportunity and access to sustainable health careers for underserved young people. This investment is part of a $20 million statewide health workforce diversity effort at TCE.
The grants will increase the number of students in health-related career programs from 670 students in six academies to 1,874 students in nine academies.
"We've seen pathway programs make a real difference in the lives of thousands of Oakland students and we want to expand pathways so that, eventually, every OUSD student has the opportunity to experience Linked Learning," explained OUSD Superintendent Antwan Wilson. "Graduation rates are 25 percent higher for students enrolled in career pathway programs, where they benefit from a college preparatory curriculum, technical instruction, and academic and social supports, while taking part in workplace learning that provides the kind of hands-on experience needed to open the door to fulfilling, productive careers." The expanded healthcare career pathway programs aim to decrease the number of high school dropouts by 60% for participating students, with 80% of all high school students enrolled in pathway programs. After graduation, the goal is to have 35% of participating students employed in the health care industry.
In conjunction with the grants to expand OUSD's health career pathways, The Atlantic Philanthropies is also granting $10 million to one of the largest public health providers in Alameda County, Alameda Health System (AHS). The grant will enhance AHS' ability to provide internships to students in OUSD health career academies, as well as its ability to provide quality services in low-income communities of color.
OUSD's Linked Learning Program began in 2007, with funding from the Irvine Foundation, as a comprehensive high school reform effort to extend and restructure the school day to better meet the college and career needs of students. Core components of the Linked Learning Program include rigorous academics, real world technical skills, work-based learning and personalized student support.
SOURCE The Atlantic Philanthropies