Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) and the Long Beach Community College District (LBCC) were beneficiaries of a one-time grant announcement that will infuse over $20 million in funding into the Long Beach institutions this year.

Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 10.30.01 AMThrough the California Career Pathways Trust (CCPT), LBUSD will receive $6 million and LBCCD is allocated $14.9 million toward creating curriculum that will provide businesses with workers with relevant, real-world skills.

The announcement of the CCPT was made last week by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. The task of putting together the trust—a one-time competitive grant program that will affect the 2013-2014 budget—started last year and was headed by Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg.

School districts that receive funds are required to create sustained career pathway programs to connect businesses with schools in hopes of creating employees better prepared for a 21st century workplace.

“To make good on our goal of a world-class education for every California student, they have to graduate with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the real world,” Torlakson said. “By demonstrating the relevance of students’ education, these programs not only encourage kids to stay in school, but also combine the rigorous academics and practical experience employers say they need.”

California students became the first-time recipients of grants under the new $250 million program designed to keep students in school and matriculate toward a college education and employment in fields with high demand. Over 120 eligible applications requesting about $709 million in funds from the trust to benefit school districts, charter schools, county offices of eduction and community college districts. In total, 39 consortia were awarded grant funds ranging from just over $500,000 to $15 million.

“Today, educators in these districts are reaping the rewards of their hard work in formulating quality career pathways programs, but the real rewards will be realized by tens of thousands of students around California who will experience exciting new avenues to apply their education to future careers,” Steinberg said. “Students who are more engaged in learning will stay in school and graduate with better preparation for college and the workforce. The fact that applications were triple the amount of money available shows the hunger for career pathway programs.”

Jason Ruiz covers City Hall and politics for the Long Beach Post. Reach him at [email protected] or @JasonRuiz_LB on Twitter.