Linked Learning integrates real-world professions with rigorous academics, transforming education into a personally relevant, wholly engaging experience - and opening students to career and college opportunities they never imagined.
Many young people, especially those in low-income households, have untapped potential to participate more fully in the workforce and community life. With deeper knowledge and skills, and stronger high school graduation rates, Linked Learning can help many more of California’s youth gain the capacities and opportunities needed for postsecondary education and high-wage employment.
Four Elements Define Linked Learning
Linked Learning builds on more than four decades of experience gained by California schools that combine academic and technical content to generate high student achievement. It combines four elements that research identifies as vital to student success:
- Rigorous academics: An academic core that includes college preparatory English, mathematics, science, history and foreign language courses for all students.
- Real-world technical skills: A challenging career-based component of three or more courses to help students gain the knowledge and skills that can give them a head start on a successful career.
- Work-based learning: A series of work-based learning opportunities that begin with mentoring and job shadowing and evolve into intensive internships, school-based enterprises or virtual apprenticeships.
- Personalized support: Services including counseling and supplemental instruction in reading, writing and mathematics that help students master academic and technical learning.
Young People Choose Their Own Pathways to Success
Linked Learning is powerful because it is relevant, guided by student interests and workforce opportunities. The four elements of this approach are delivered through career pathways, comprehensive programs of study that connect learning in the classroom with real-world applications outside of school. Students select a pathway of their choice.
Pathways are designed to match the needs of 15 major industries in California, ranging from engineering to health sciences to digital media arts.
Connections Create Relevance - and Results
A recent evaluation shows that students participating in Linked Learning are earning more credits in the first two years of high school, are more likely to be on track to complete the courses they need for college eligibility, and report greater confidence in their life and career skills than similar peers in traditional high school. This interactive infographic newly updated to include fourth-year evaluation results, provides a snapshot of Linked Learning evidence, progress and more.
These achievements are possible because Linked Learning works in a comprehensive way. It improves the systems that serve youth, helping them graduate from high school ready to enter college or other training, succeed at the postsecondary level, and reconnect if they are out of school and want to earn a degree or credential.
Linked Learning also engages employers in education, so California schools produce graduates ready for high-skill, high-wage employment. Administrators, teachers, parents and community leaders across the state are embracing this approach as the means to reform and improve equity in education.
Linked Learning Meets Youth Where They Are
Linked Learning elements are applied in different venues and stages of youth development to improve achievement and increase opportunities. Linked Learning works: