UC Riverside and the Inland Empire have received $18 million from a statewide investment of $250 million that will establish K-16 Education Collaboratives to address equity gaps and improve education-to-career pipelines in each region of the state.
The Inland Empire award was announced Aug. 25 by California Gov. Gavin Newsom, along with awards to Los Angeles County, and the Southern Border region. Earlier this summer, the Central San Joaquin Valley, North State, Kern County, Redwood Coast, Orange County, and Sacramento regions were awarded grants by the program.
The Regional K-16 collaborative program, administered by the Department of General Services, Office of Public School Construction, and Foundation for California Community Colleges, is intended to build on or create collaboration among the University of California system, the California State University system, community colleges, K-12 school districts, and workforce partners so that students have clear career pathways that begin in elementary school.
UCR is the lead applicant for the grant and will hire a staff member to oversee the program, while the Riverside County Office of Education and San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools will serve as co-convenors on behalf of additional regional partners that signed on to the grant. Those partners include all 12 Inland Empire/Desert regional community colleges, California State University, San Bernardino, myriad private non-profit colleges and universities, K12 school districts, non-profit organizations, and business and workforce partners. Once funds are received by UCR, a steering committee including regional partners will ensure funds are equitably disbursed across both San Bernardino and Riverside counties, including in remote areas.
Two regional entities, Growing Inland Achievement, or GIA, and Riverside County Education Collaborative, or RCEC, will support the project. Both have extensive experience leading education collaborations in the region. In the 93-page Inland Empire application, regional leaders discussed leveraging GIA and RCEC to support “equitable educational and economic opportunities for students and address equity barriers in career and technical education pathways in the areas of Healthcare, Engineering and Computing, Business, and Education.”
The Inland Empire K16 Collaborative will spend the grant money over four school years, beginning in 2022-23. The collaborative will award funds to smaller groups. Funds may also be used for career development, internships, tuition assistance for low-income students, scholarships, technology, and community outreach.
Groups will be invited to outline their plans for pathway programs that include at least one school district, one community college, one university or four-year college, and a workforce partner.
Summaries of each collaborative can be found on the Regional K-16 Education Collaboratives Grant Program website.