Workgroup Highlights 2019
In 2019, the L.A. Compact Stewardship Group finalized the first update to the collaborative’s foundational goals since the first signing in 2010. The new goals reflect a greater emphasis on attainment over access, as well as the important contributions that early childhood development and social and emotional skills make towards holistic student success. In 2020, partners will have an opportunity to commit to regional collaboration in support of five bold goals.
- All children are healthy and ready to succeed in school.
- All students graduate from high school.
- All students complete postsecondary education.
- Students of all ages acquire skills and knowledge to achieve career success.
- All children and young adults thrive socially and emotionally and contribute positively to the community.
Lastly, the Stewardship Group finalized a set of beliefs and values that will guide the L.A. Compact’s collective impact work in service of LA’s students moving forward. The L.A. Compact believes in:
- Advancing equity – structural and institutional racism and classism must be dismantled, resources must be allocated, and strategies must be targeted in a way that advances equity of opportunity and educational outcomes.
- Success for all – all children and youth, regardless of race, gender, socio-economic status, immigration status, and ability have the capacity to achieve at high levels and realize their unique potential if given the adequate supports and investments.
- Results through Collaboration – collaboration across institutions and systems is necessary to solve the complex, large-scale education and workforce development challenges facing our region; we are mutually responsible for the success of our children and young adults as they transition throughout the cradle-to-career continuum.
- Building trust – collaboration moves at the speed of trust, requiring continuous communication, common ground, a mutual commitment to youth and families, and a culture of respect and support across signing institutions.
- Community-informed solutions – solutions should be informed by the lived experiences of individuals most impacted by policies, programs, and systems; their leadership and participation is integral to the implementation of identified solutions.
- Using data for continuous improvement – data must be shared and used regularly to promote learning, continuous improvement, and shared responsibility for the success of our children and youth.
Unfortunately one of these core values, building trust, was tested this year when several Compact signers were divided on a ballot initiative to raise revenue for L.A. Unified schools, resulting in six signers making the decision to withdraw from the L.A. Compact agreement. Despite this fissure, important work led by Compact partners continued to accelerate this year, proving that the L.A. Compact remains a space where cross-sector system leaders can find areas of common ground to work together in service of students.
Student Success Workgroup
In 2019, the Student Success Workgroup saw the growth of its two existing projects, CSUN Connections and the regional ADT Pathways study. The study, which saw its initial draft in 2019, using publicly available data, has led to the successful development of a campus specific draft, currently in the works. The workgroup also took on issues such as math readiness and regional enrollment management.
The CSUN Connections program flourished in 2019 as it helped streamline student-centered institutional policies at each participating institution. A partnership among Cal State Northridge, L.A. Mission College, L.A. Pierce College, and L.A. Valley College, the program is designed to re-engage stopped-out students and create a pathway toward an associate degree and an eventual bachelor’s degree. It helped develop beneficial enrollment policies and student support services on each campus. The communication of these benefits by on-campus advisors has led to a steady increase of interest and engagement from stopped-out students. To date, over 40 students have claimed degrees; over 20 students have enrolled in a degree program; and over 100 students are in the process of applying to an institution or working with advisors to create an academic plan.
CSUN Connections has also received statewide recognition. The work was featured in a California Competes Higher Ed Chat and was also the topic of discussion at presentations in Los Angeles and Sacramento. These presentations have allowed campus partners and UNITE-LA to discuss planning and implementation, highlighting the collaborative work of the L.A. Compact and its impact on the region. As a steward of transfer policy in Los Angeles, CSUN Connections has helped to usher in a wave of student-centered programs across the state.
LA College Promise
In May, the LA College Promise saw its inaugural class of graduates at a ceremony hosted by Cal State LA. 500 family and community members gathered to celebrate the 150 graduates. As L.A. City Mayor Eric Garcetti challenged partners to increase the number of student participants to 10,000 by 2022, this year also saw capacity planning for the program’s future.
The drive to this goal is off to a positive start, as the first cohort saw a 75.5 percent persistence rate from fall 2017 to fall 2018. Among those students, 76.5 percent successfully completed English requirements and 57.1 percent successfully completed math requirements.
2019 was a pivotal year for little kids in Los Angeles County. In addition to elevating the Early Development Instrument (EDI) as a tool to measure early childhood wellbeing, there were several positive developments bringing the field closer to a unified vision where public and community systems are more family-centered and child-focused.
- On the EDI front, two new school districts – Compton Unified School District and Lowell Joint School District – joined the group of seven school districts in the county already using the EDI.
- First 5 LA and First 5 Orange County co-hosted the 2019 Learners Today, Leaders Tomorrow Summit, highlighting the many ways in which cities and school districts across California and the nation are using EDI data to bring cross-sector partners together to improve the lives of children.
- Later in the year, First 5 LA also adopted its 2020-2028 strategic plan, boldly committing to making sure all children in L.A. County enter kindergarten ready to succeed in school and life by 2028.
- Concurrently, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health appointed Debra Colman as the Director for the Office for the Advancement of Early Care and Education (OAECE). Under her leadership, the OAECE, the L.A. County Child Care Planning Committee, and the L.A. County Policy Roundtable for Child Care and Development also adopted the first-ever, countywide strategic plan for early care and education. For the first time, UNITE-LA also became a member of the L.A. County Child Care Planning Committee in 2019.
With all the excitement and growing synergy around early childhood, First 5 LA and UNITE-LA are looking forward to collaborating with the OAECE in 2020 to leverage existing data, including the EDI, to integrate and strengthen early childhood systems.
18 L.A. Unified Schools joined the first cohort of the district’s Community School pilot in 2019. The pilot represents an opportunity for schools to transform the way they partner with families and community members to ensure students’ holistic success. The community school model emphasizes integrated student supports, expanded and enriched learning time, family and community engagement and shared decision-making. All of the schools received funding to hire a specialized Community School Coordinator who will lead their schools in a community needs assessment and planning process in the 2019-20 school year.
The L.A. Unified Community Schools Steering Committee, co-convened by the district, UTLA, and the L.A. Compact, developed a selection process for the first pilot cohort, as well as several workshops and webinars to support school teams in adopting the community school model.
Opportunity Youth Collaborative (OYC) - convened by the Alliance for Children’s Rights
On July 9, 250 youth-serving practitioners and system leaders came together at the California Endowment to deepen their knowledge about innovative programs and best-practices that support foster youth success in higher education and the workforce. The Fostering Connections to Transition-Age Youth Self-Sufficiency Summit focused on strengthening connections among college campus foster youth support programs, workforce providers, juvenile probation, K-12 districts, community based agencies and L.A. County's child welfare system.
The LA OYC leveraged our public/private partnership, using existing resources, to launch and implement the first network of youth-driven, workforce system navigators. The OYC collaborated with LA County Workforce Development Aging and Community Services, the Department of Children and Family Services, and iFoster in 2019 to hire 63 foster youth to be TAY AmeriCorps Members across Los Angeles County. The navigators, are TAY AmeriCorps Members, who are hosted at America’s Job Centers of California, community colleges and other key partners—resulting in 1,800 foster youth connecting to educational and employment services within a six-month period. These current foster youth served as peer navigators, connecting other young people in foster care with the resources and skills needed to find employment and achieve success once they age out of the system. In Sep 2019, the TAY AmeriCorps program was honored as the “Best New AmeriCorps Program” by the Corporation for National and Community Service.
Foster Youth College Advancement Project (FYCAP) - convened by John Burton Advocates for Youth
Through the efforts of the OYC Foster Youth College Advancement Project (FYCAP), L.A. County attained a 61 percent FAFSA completion rate for its foster youth who were high school seniors in 2019, increasing from 33 percent in 2018. The County was awarded a statewide “most improved” designation as a result of this 28-point increase, which can be attributed to the development of a FAFSA tracking mechanism, targeted technical assistance, the creation of foster-youth specific training materials and increased collaboration across L.A. County’s Office of Education, K-12 districts, Department of Children and Family Services, Probation Department and Office of Child Protection.
Additionally, John Burton Advocates for Youth, in partnership with UNITE-LA, worked with the L.A. County Department of Children and Family Services to require caregivers who provide placement to youth between 12-19 to complete 3 hours of postsecondary educational training. In addition, a comprehensive training curricula and facilitator’s guide was created in both English and Spanish to support trainers to implement this curricula both locally and statewide.
OYC Foster Youth at Work - convened by UNITE-LA & the Alliance for Children’s Rights
After a year of planning and coordination, L.A. County launched a coordinated foster youth referral process in March 2019 between the Department of Children & Family Services, the 7 workforce boards, and over 40 local youth workforce centers. In Fiscal Year 18-19, a total of 757 foster youth participated in a paid work experience, 709 foster youth completed job skills training, and 290 foster youth completed at least 100 hours of work experience. OYC partner UNITE-LA is working with Harder + Co Community Research to develop a case study highlighting lessons learned from the new referral process and recommendations for continuous improvement.
L.A. County’s 7 workforce boards signed an agreement in spring 2019 with L.A. County DCFS, Probation, and the Office of Education setting ambitious goals to ensure all foster and system-involved youth participate in 100 hours of work experience by age 16 and 300 hours by age 18. The partners began meeting in the fall to discuss identifying baseline data and developing an implementation plan for the agreement.
The OYC made great strides in developing a Career Readiness Guide for foster youth that is designed to help youth, social workers, community partners, and caregivers understand age-appropriate activities to begin to explore career options and gain early work experience starting at age 14.
Los Angeles Educator Pathways Partnership (LAEPP)
The LAEPP finalized a set of additional research questions to deepen the analysis of teacher preparation pathways and LAUSD outcomes for new STEM teachers. LAUSD added two more years of district outcomes to the datasets, allowing further analysis of teacher retention and performance.
Los Angeles Workforce Systems Collaborative (LAWSC)
Over 2019, the LAWSC identified key issue areas and opportunities for alignment across education and workforce development systems to maximize the impact of those efforts in the region. The group started the year by crafting the career success goal and metrics for the L.A. Compact to work toward in its cradle-to-career efforts. Throughout the year, the group served as a space for leaders across agencies and systems to share information, discuss challenges and opportunities in developing new apprenticeship programs in the region, agree on principles to recommend to the state for developing the California Longitudinal Data System, and finalize a survey to gather data from workforce development agencies throughout the region about existing employer engagement practices. The Systems Collaborative looks forward to the year ahead in building on these discussions to advance alignment opportunities across workforce systems in the region and the state.
Health Sector Collaborative (HSC)
In 2019, the HSC engaged in robust discussions aimed at streamlining career pathways and building a diverse, local talent pipeline for nursing, allied health and behavior health occupations, and welcomed three new organizational members: the Mayor’s Office, TELACU and Community Health Councils. In addition, the Health Sector Collaborative was instrumental in the success of two major projects. First, HSC members are supporting Los Angeles Unified School District in filling 150 new school nurse positions created in the January 2019 contract with UTLA. UNITE-LA worked with LAUSD, the Mayor’s Office and the California Community College Health Workforce Initiative to conduct a Hiring Day in July. The event drew the interest of more than 130 candidates, and the LAUSD team ultimately completed 65 interviews, resulting in 35 offers and 19 signed employment contracts. Secondly, in October, HSC members collaborated on a Health Care Career Exploration Track at “Your Future LA: Beyond the Diploma,” the 18th annual college and career convention. Collectively, more than 15 organizations, including employers and post-secondary institutions, helped more than 370 students from 37 high schools throughout Los Angeles explore health care occupations and related education and career pathways. In 2020, the HSC will continue collaborating to provide work-based learning opportunities in health care for youth and recruit school nurses for LAUSD while also exploring creating an “essential” skills training program for students preparing for health care careers.