Working together to bring quality work-based-learning to Contra Costa County
What do you want to be when you grow up? What if you don’t know? How do you find out about careers? Earn & Learn East Bay (ELEB) is a campaign bringing partners throughout Contra Costa County and the East Bay together to expose youth and young adults to local careers and spend time in hands-on work experiences. Earn & Learn recognizes the value of working together to support our region’s economic vitality. This innovative initiative maximizes success for both businesses and students.
Hosted by the Workforce Development Board of Contra Costa County, Earn & Learn East Bay is a collaboration of 15 school districts, the Contra Costa Economic Partnership (CCEP), Contra Costa County Office of Education, four community colleges, and California State University East Bay. Each organization has multiple “connectors” who support the partnership and are a point of contact to connect businesses with education.
The center of this work is collaboration, offering strong support for instructors, an easy process for employers, and engaging experiences for students. When a company indicates they would like to participate in an activity, their “pledge” is matched to a connector located at each school site. The connectors follow standards of practice in order to coordinate well-planned activities – all supported by a work-based learning toolkit to which each partner has contributed.
Local industry partners like Shell Oil are impressed and thrilled by Earn & Learn’s depth and reach and honored to support this program. Employers have one point of contact for schools, and schools now have more companies to work with. It’s a win-win.”
While high schools and community colleges have always delivered work-based-learning activities like internships and guest speakers in classrooms, the California Career Pathway Trust Grant funded regional collaboration to maximize opportunities provided to youth. The ELEB initiative has increased and expanded the experiences and facilitated strategic employer engagement. New legislation under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) also encourages this collaboration as well as funding for out-of-school, underserved, and foster youth to participate in these activities.
Los Medanos College is proud to be an Earn & Learn partner, with internships spanning Bay-wide, thanks to the wonderful employers investing in the local workforce. The appreciation for the partnership is mutual. “We are truly excited to continue deepening our partnership with Los Medanos College in the Earn & Learn Campaign. The college was honored as the ELEB’s Champion on the Rise in 2016,” said Gina Del Carlo, Youth Policy and Program Director for the Contra Costa Workforce Development Board and ELEB Director. “Our partnership with LMC will help us expand and grow Earn & Learn deep into the future. From our perspective, this is just as much about ensuring the success of young people as it is about creating a tremendous opportunity for employers to develop their talent pipeline.”
For more information on Earn & Learn East Bay projects and how you can connect with them, visit http://www.earnlearneastbay.org/
– Tara Sanders