Did you know that in California:


  • More than 9.2 million children (to the age of 18) live in the state;
  • Almost 1 out of every 3 children live in a household with only one parent;
  • Approximately 93,210 children participate in the federally-funded Head Start program;
  • 67 percent of fourth graders are reading below grade level;
  • 72 percent of eighth graders are below grade level in math; and
  • 24 percent of high school students do not graduate on time with a high school diploma.
Click here for the complete California Fact Sheet.


Our 2014 Policy Priorities


America’s Edge California believes in providing high school students with relevant education and real-world experiences to help youth stay engaged in school so they graduate with the skills California businesses need. We support Linked Learning, a promising education approach that combines rigorous academics, modern and sophisticated career technical education, and hands-on learning opportunities that connect to actual needs in the state’s economy. We also support high-quality early childhood education because investments in early learning provide a significant, immediate economic boost for local businesses and help build stronger communities over the long term.

In 2014, America’s Edge will continue its work to:

  1. Raise public awareness of and build policy-maker support for Linked Learning as a key education solution to transforming high school and closing our workforce “skills gaps;
  2. Urge California legislators to invest in high-quality career pathways that are connected to higher education and the regional needs of California’s economy;
  3. Support efforts to include “college- and career-readiness” measures in California’s new education standards and its Academic Performance Index (API); and
  4. Promote high-quality early childhood education, including transitional kindergarten, as an economic driver that has both short-term and long-term benefits.

For more information about the Linked Learning approach, please click here.

For more information about innovative high school education models please click here.

For more information about the benefits of early childhood education, please click here.

America’s Edge releases Health Care”Skills Gap” Report in Antioch


Dr. Donald Gill, Dr. Sean Wright, Jennifer Ortega, and Amy Anderson prescribe Linked Learning to address the East Bay’s skills gap.

Projected growth in California’s health care industry is expected to create over half a million job openings by 2020, creating demand for professional skills that workers in the East Bay may not possess, according to a new report, entitled, “Ensuring the East Bay’s Economic Success: Reversing California’s Health Care ‘Skills Gaps’ Through Linked Learning,” released May 31, 2013 by business leaders at Dozier-Libbey Medical High School, a Linked Learning school in Antioch. The report provides good news and bad news for employers and the workforce. On the up side, projections show that health care jobs will account for more than 10,000 job openings in Alameda and Contra Costa counties by 2020. However, the state will not have nearly enough qualified workers to fill them without a substantial shift in current education trends.

The solution? Linked Learning, a high school education approach that prepares students for college and career with rigorous academics integrated with relevant career-based  coursework and  real-world work-based learning experiences provided by local employers. Linked Learning provides students with the core knowledge and professional skills that businesses need to compete and succeed in the global marketplace.



Click here to read the full report: Ensuring the East Bay’s Economic Success: Reversing California’s Health Care ‘Skills Gaps’ Through Linked Learning



America’s Edge re-releases “Skills Gap”Report in Los Angeles


On June 8, 2012, business leaders released a new report in Los Angeles to call attention to skills gaps in California’s shifting job market. Read the report here. Included in the report is an insert about the skills mismatches specifically in Los Angeles County. Please view it here.


America’s Edge Releases New “Skills Gap” Report in Sacramento


On May 25, 2011, California business leaders and education administrators released a report urging support for an education approach that can help address significant skills gaps in many career fields in California, ranging from nursing to information technology.

The report calls on state lawmakers to support Linked Learning, a high school-based education approach that helps equip students with the specific skills California businesses seek and which will fuel the state’s economic recovery and long-term growth.

Click here to read the full report: Can California Compete? Reducing the Skills Gap and Creating a Skilled Workforce through Linked Learning

Insert 1: Chart showing High Schools Using Linked Learning by County

Insert 2: Funding Linked Learning

Insert 3: Skills Shortages in Sacramento


Legislative Successes


America’s Edge supported three bills in 2013 that were intended to better prepare our future workforce for college and career. Two passed easily and were signed by the Governor. They are:

SB 118 (Lieu)

This bill requires the state to implement workforce development strategies that create a more prepared and skilled workforce by employing “sector strategies” – policy initiatives designed to promote the economic growth and development of a state’s competitive industries. The California Workforce Investment Board will be responsible for helping the Governor align the state’s public education and workforce investment systems.

AB 547 (Salas)

This bill adds “career exploration” to the list of activities that may satisfy the academic assistance element of programs receiving 21st Century High School After-School Safety & Enrichment for Teens (ASSET) grants.

America’s Edge also supported SB 594 (Steinberg), which would have created financial incentives to encourage employers to provide work-based learning opportunities for students. The bill was transitioned to a budget item, AB 86, which created the California Career Pathways Trust – a $250 million allocation to support partnerships among school districts, community colleges and employers that provide work experiences.

AMERICA’S EDGE California Promotional Video


A short video, with excerpts from our May 25, 2011 press conference, highlights why California’s economic future depends on creating a skilled workforce.

Our thanks to ConnectEd: The California Center for College and Career, Porterville Unified School District and the Sacramento Press Club for allowing us to use some of their footage.

Click here to watch the video.

 Linked Learning in the News


 “Traditional education models lack relevance. High-quality Linked Learning pathways can help reform our education system and create a pipeline of workers with 21st century skills.”

–Teresa Goodwin, Architect, HPA, Inc., Oakland, CA

  • January 10, 2014. Heath, Rebecca. “Science Project: Turning kids into tech workers.” Sacramento Business Journal. [Click here to view Part 1 and Part 2 of the article.]

*For more information, please contact America’s Edge California State Director Jennifer Ortega.

Phone: (415) 762-8275