CCRC Awarded $4.4 Million Grant to Implement and Study Caree... | Teachers College Columbia University

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CCRC Awarded $4.4 Million Grant to Implement and Study Career-Focused Dual Enrollment in California

The Community College Research Center (CCRC) at Teachers College has been awarded a three-year grant of $4.4 million from The James Irvine Foundation to manage and evaluate a new dual enrollment initiative in California in the area of career and technical education.
Three-Year project aims to improve the state's climate for a promising educational strategy

Dual enrollment programs, in which high school students take courses at community colleges, are an emerging strategy for orienting students from disadvantaged backgrounds toward college and boosting their chances for completing two- and four-year college degrees. "Career and technical education" -- a term that has replaced "vocational education" -- encompasses not only training in manual fields such as automotive repair but also information technology, health care and teaching.


The award from the Irvine Foundation is actually a re-granting initiative in which CCRC -- which is nationally known for its work on dual enrollment -- will bid out some six to eight grants to partnerships in California between high schools and community colleges, community colleges and regional career and technical education programs, and other similar combinations.


"The grants will go to organizations that have already begun this kind of work but want to take it to a higher level," says Katherine Hughes, CCRC Assistant Director, who will serve as co-principal investigator on the project along with Thomas Bailey, CCRC Director. "They have to partner in implementing college courses for high school students that are part of a career and technical education pathway. Within that framework there is a lot of leeway. We're also encouraging involvement from potential employers, tutoring services and more."


CCRC will provide the grantees with assistance in implementing their programs, and then conduct studies to assess the programs' effectiveness.


"In California, Governor Schwarzenegger has been a big supporter of career and technical education, but the state hasn't done much to move forward with dual enrollment, so the Irvine Foundation asked us to create a new initiative to combine those two things," Hughes explains.  Hughes says that current rules in the state that tie funding to the number of minutes per day that students must spend on a high school campus act as disincentives for administrators to launch dual enrollment programs. "We're hoping that results from this effort help to change those policies."


Published Monday, Jan. 7, 2008