Focus Areas

Career/technical education: Linked Learning leads to student success

Linked Learning — career and technical education — transforms the high-school experience by bringing together strong academics, demanding technical education and real-world experience to help students gain an advantage in high school, postsecondary education and careers.


linkedlearning_webIn the Linked Learning approach, students follow industry-themed pathways in a wide range of fields such as engineering, arts and media, biomedicine and health. The term “pathway” is a common term in education and in the Linked Learning context is defined as a multiyear, comprehensive high school program of integrated academic and career technical study that is organized around a broad theme, interest area, or industry sector.

Pathways connect learning with students’ interests and career aspirations, preparing them for the full range of post-graduation options including two- and four-year colleges and universities, apprenticeships, formal employment training, and military service.

Used in schools throughout California, this integrated approach has been shown to lead to higher graduation rates, increased postsecondary enrollments, higher earning potential, and greater civic engagement.

An effective linked learning program contains all of the following essential components:

  • A challenging academic component that prepares students for success in higher education as well as in apprenticeships and other postsecondary programs.
  • A technical component that delivers concrete knowledge and skills through technical courses while emphasizing the practical application of academic learning and preparing students for high-skill, high wage employment.
  • A work-based learning component that offers opportunities to learn through real-world experiences. Students gain access to internships, virtual apprenticeships, and school-based enterprises.
  • Support services that include counseling and supplemental instruction in reading, writing and mathematics to help students master the advanced academic and technical content necessary for success in college and career.


California State PTA has long supported career education and Linked Learning programs in the belief that these programs increase student engagement leading to higher levels of student success and reduced dropout rates:

  • “California State PTA believes in equal access to education that prepares students to meet the needs of a highly skilled, high technology workplace. A broad-based School-to-Career Technical Education program prepares all students for lifelong learning and successful transition to career and advanced education.” — Position Statement 4.5.69: School-to-Career Technical Education
  • The California State PTA believes students need academically rigorous instructional programs that will enable them to think critically, to formulate and solve problems, and to work in teams. Students need opportunities to apply their academic and technical skills to the world of work…” — Position Statement 4.5.24: Education – The High-School Years, Ages 14-18
  • “…Students should leave high school with a body of knowledge that opens the door to continued education, the world of work and lifelong learning. We must prevent students from dropping out of school. High schools must offer the most comprehensive and diversified education possible…” — 2001 Convention Resolution: School-to-Career For All Students and 2005 Convention Resolution: Education — A 21st -Century Vision