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The Linked Learning approach to College and Career Readiness is based on the principle of equity. It has the fundamental goal of increasing both postsecondary education and workforce opportunities for all students by integrating rigorous academics with career-themed instruction, work-based learning, and greater student supports. The approach provides relevant and motivating education experiences to high school students by connecting learning to real-world situations through a range of career-oriented pathways. Although the approach is relatively new, initial student outcomes are promising. The successful design, implementation, and support of Linked Learning, requires strong commitment to the approach and thoughtful and intensive collaboration among school, district, and community stakeholders.

CSBA Linked Learning Resources

Linked Learning can help districts meet goals of their Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) as required by the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). Districts are responsible for identifying programs and approaches that correspond with eight key priorities of districts, or ten priorities for county offices of education. CTE programs are well suited to meet many of the eight state priorities such as student engagement, student achievement, school climate, implementation of common core, and other student outcomes.


Click the infograph below to learn more about the student outcomes of Linked Learning.

Linked Learning infographic

                                                                                                                            The James Irvine Foundation

The Growth of Linked Learning

In 2009, The James Irvine Foundation launched the California Linked Learning District Initiative which included support for nine districts across the state as they implemented the approach.

In May 2010, the California Department of Education (CDE) released a report and executive summary that included recommendations to expand the Multiple Pathways approach (now called Linked Learning).

In 2011, CDE authorized the Linked Learning Pilot Program with the passage of Assembly Bill 790 (Furitani), which resulted in the selection of 63 districts and county offices across the state to receive support and training in the development of Linked Learning pathways for their students.

The Future of Linked Learning

In late 2013, the state announced additional support for the Linked Learning approach. The California Career Pathways Trust (CCPT) will disperse $250 million in one-time grants to help fund the development and expansion of work-based learning systems and partnerships across the state. Learn more about CCPT on the Linked Learning Alliance website.

Much of CSBA’s work on Linked Learning, and the work of many of the partners, have been supported by The James Irvine Foundation. This support has fostered a growing field of educators, providers, and partners who are working to make Linked Learning a possibility for an increasing number of students across the state.

Partners and Resources:

Taking Stock of the California Linked Learning District Initiative: Fourth-Year Evaluation Report illustrates the impact of Linked Learning on student outcomes, and the essential district structures needed for such success.

View Long Beach USD’s Linked Learning webpage

View San Bernardino Counties Cradle to Career Roadmap to see how they are setting direction within their schools on a regional level.

The Linked Learning Alliance  is a statewide coalition of education, industry, and community organizations dedicated to improving California’s high schools and preparing students for success in college, career, and life. Download the Linked Learning Alliance’s Fact Sheet for more information on Linked Learning.

ConnectEd: The California Center for College and Career partners with communities to transform education through Linked Learning, ensuring that all students, regardless of background, graduate ready for college, career, and life.

America’s Edge is a national organization focused on strengthening businesses through proven investments in kids. The California chapter is highly involved with the focus on project-and work-based learning happening within the Linked Learning approach.

The James Irvine Foundation is dedicated to expanding opportunity for the people of California to participate in a vibrant, successful and inclusive society.