Dr. John Paul Tabakian, President of WestCal Academy, gave a presentation about Student Success Legislation Update. WestCal Academy is a 501(C)(3) tax- deductible organization whose mission is to “help students identify their career pathways in partnership with industry mentors and in collaboration with academic institutions. Students are able to pursue higher education with greater persistence when they declare a field of major and have a mentor who works in that field”.
Dr. Tabakian noted that according to 2010 US Census Bureau only 27% of college degree holders were employed in the field of their major. Dr. Tabakian said that this mismatch (between academic learning and jobs) could lead to underutilization of labor force, performance, potential earnings and advancement. He went on to describe WestCal’s programs in identifying underlying causes and described some of their programs for reducing mismatch between jobs college graduates hold and their majors. WestCal is involved in tracking students starting from high school to college to their jobs throughout California to get an assessment of student success. He said that this wide range of data collection provides metrics for student internships, career development and success. WestCal shares this data with academic institutions to help curriculum development, industry and government.
WestCal Academy offers all registered students two career pathway programs:
1) MEGA (Make Education Great Again) career pathway program with academic and industry mentors;
2) MEGA Government Education Series enabling direct contact between students and government representatives and officials to learn about public service opportunities.
WestCal facilitates both tracks by informing students (via giving presentations), arranging talks with relevant mentors and helping students get internships in their chosen areas in industry or public sector. WestCal through their training, provides completely vetted, internship-ready students to organizations at no cost. WestCal also offers career paths to students who do not wish to pursue college degree through their partnerships with labor organizations to provide students hands on vocational/occupational skills leading to meaningful careers. Details of these programs and other relevant information are available on WestCalAcademy.com.
Dr. Tabakian then went on to talk about three Student Success Bills that have been introduced and are under consideration in California assembly. Note: none of these bills have been passed yet.
1. SB 3 (Senate Bill 3)- introduced by Senators Allen and Susan Glazer on Dec 3, 2018. Establishment of Office of Higher Education, Coordination, Accountability and Performance.
2. AB 130 (Assembly Bill 130) – introduced on Dec 4, 2018 by assembly members Evan Low and Susan Glazer. Supports establishment of the Office of Higher Education as in SB3 and proposes to repeal certain provisions in Education Code.
3. AB 198 – introduced by Sharon Quirk Silva on Jan 10th, 2019. Proposes to amend Section 53086 of the Education Code relating to career development. It requires career resource network to develop and distribute a Career Aptitude Test.