Locke College Prep Academy awarded $2.8MM grant for CTE

Locke CTE

Alain LeRoy Locke College Preparatory Academy was awarded nearly $2.8MM in grants to support Career Technical Education (CTE) programs. $916,977 of grant funds were received from California Community Colleges and the remainder came in matching funds from program partners. Reflecting on the programs that led to this funding, Luis Castillo, a student at Locke, said, “I’ve had a chance to experience hands-on what I can expect through certification, and it also has helped me develop essential problem-solving skills.” 

“We’re humbled and thrilled to have earned this support for our students and community,” says Gordon Gibbings, Vice President of Green Dot Public Schools California. “Funding for this type of academic and pre-professional instruction will have a long-term impact on our students and their pathways toward lifelong success.” 

Through a competitive application process Locke was awarded grant funds of $916,977 in support of Career Technical Education programs by the Strong Workforce Program. Locke was also awarded approximately $1.8MM in matching funds by program partners Green Dot Public Schools, Guaranteed Clean Energy, Los Angeles Urban League, Project Lead the Way, Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters, and Los Angeles Trade Technical College to build and carry out Building & Construction and Information & Communication Technologies CTE pathways at the school. Additionally, Exploring Your Potential (EYP) curricula will be embedded into existing courses, the Career and Tech Education (CTE) programs and courses shall be retooled and expanded to include competencies like Self-Awareness, Problem Solving, Decision-Making, Career Orientation, Strategic Planning, and Execution.

“Students who are exposed to career exploration programs in middle school can make a smoother transition into the corresponding high school programs,” added Michael Dean, K12 Strong Workforce Program Pathway Coordinator. “The goal of the K-12 SWP is to align the high school career and tech education programs with the SWP pathways at the community colleges.” New programs and experiences from the SWP grant will add a strong career component/orientation to Locke’s Senior Bridge program that engages students over the summer as they transition to post-secondary opportunities.

Castillo concurs, and he appreciated examining computer science as a profession and what it has to offer. “This opportunity to explore Computer Sciences at Locke has given me an insight into my goals at the next level.”

The Career Technical Education program provides an important pathway to success for high school students and offers each student opportunities to personalize his or her education based on their career interest and unique learning needs. CTE refers to courses and programs designed to prepare students for careers in current or emerging professions.

The award will impact hundreds of students at the school when fully rolled out.Through an inclusive infrastructure supporting all subgroups of students, the program will provide mentoring to low-income, Latinx, and Black students while creating access to programs for students interested in a pathway to college.

”Exploring the broadest range of possibilities is so important for students to maintain their motivation, especially as they form their sense of personal identity,” says Jennifer Kushell, founder and CEO of EYP Ventures, creators of Exploring Your Potential. “Connecting the dots between their interests and abilities and real workplace opportunities opens up so many options and builds self-efficacy.”

Locke’s Senior Bridge program consists of five weeks of college application instruction, coaching, and feedback. The Senior Bridge program already impacts over 230 Los Angeles students across Green Dot Public Schools. This grant funding will improve and expand opportunities for all students at Locke, as they graduate prepared for success in college, leadership, and life. 

“Students cannot thrive without comprehensive programs that set them up for success. We want to support and nurture students as they grow through high school and onto success in college and beyond.” noted Blain Watson, Locke’s principal.

“Future careers demand increasingly specialized and technical knowledge to empower students to succeed. Locke is stepping up to ensure these opportunities exist right here in our community in service of our students. 

Green Dot Public Schools is a network of 25 Title I charter middle and high schools purposefully located in communities that have been historically underserved in California, Tennessee, and Texas. Our mission is to help transform public education so all students graduate prepared for college, leadership, and life.