The Los Angeles High-Impact Information Technology, Entertainment & Entrepreneurship, and Communications Hubs (LA HI-TECH) consortium, of which Pierce College is a member, earned a $15 million grant from the state earlier this month.
The grant was designed to outline specific career pathways for high school students interested in technology.
High schools will further align parts of their technology-based curriculum with Pierce and other community colleges.
Students will be able to take technology classes at Pierce when they are in 11th or 12th grade, and be concurrently enrolled in their high school and Pierce, according to Director of CTE Grants Michael Flowers.
“It’s important because everyone has been talking about this type of partnership, communication and alignment,” he said. “But it has never really been put in a grant and had funding to back it.”
Flowers said the main focus is to work with local high schools, local businesses and to partner with community colleges.
The students will learn specific skills that local businesses want, Flowers said.
The classes also will earn high school students college credit, and give them an opportunity to intern at a local business while they are still in high school.
“Employment is the ultimate goal,” Flowers said.
Pierce is planning to partner with WorkSource Centers in Canoga Park, Chatsworth and other parts of the San Fernando Valley, according to community volunteer Jim Threat, who is helping Flowers connect Pierce with local businesses.
“Hopefully we’ll be able to get some interest and create some opportunities,” Threat said.
The other eight colleges in the LA HI-TECH consortium looking to create local opportunities are LA Valley College, LA Mission College, LA City College, West LA College, LA Southwest College, LA Trade-Technical College, Santa Monica City College and Pasadena City College.
Each school collected data, met with partners, developed relationships with high schools and ultimately wrote the grant together, Flowers said.
He said they earned the grant because their application to the state was “clear and well defined.”
Pierce will use its $1 million share of the grant to pay for staffing, field trips, books, equipment and support services, Flowers said.
The grant required letters of support from high school principals and industry leaders, according to Dean of Academic Affairs Jose Luis Fernandez.
“We’re so limited in resources,” he said. “We’re really making an effort to extend ourselves above and beyond the call of duty.”
He said Pierce is going deeper into the planning phase by figuring out who will collect data and track the students.
The project should officially begin sometime in the next 30 to 40 days, according to Flowers.
“A lot of times we don’t accomplish certain things because of funding,” he said. “There’s no excuse now.”