Cal State Long Beach (CSULB) is one of six California State University campuses to be awarded a total of $3 million by the California Gang Reduction Intervention and Prevention Program to help at-risk students attain a college degree to become teachers. The Governor’s Discretionary Workforce Investment Act funding will support teacher pathway development programs that integrate after-school employment with teacher preparation.
The program is aimed at reducing gang involvement by providing at-risk 17-to-24-year-old students with a pathway to teaching. The six CSU campuses to receive funding for the program include East Bay, San Francisco, San Diego, Dominguez Hills, Long Beach and Northridge, with half offering a specific emphasis on preparing science, technology and math teachers.
Each of the programs involves a partnership between a CSU campus, a community college, a community-based organization and an after-school employer. Participants attend community college while earning a salary by working in an after-school program in their community. They will transfer then to a CSU campus to earn teaching credentials and eventually return to teach in their communities.
CSULB partners with Cerritos Community College on this project, according to Marquita Grenot-Scheyer, dean of the CSULB College of Education. “We are building a pipeline from our local diverse communities to Cerritos College and CSULB,” she said. “We hope many of these students will return to their communities as teachers in their neighborhood schools.
“Many of these students have been members of gangs or have come from impoverished backgrounds. Many have been less than successful in their educational careers,” Grenot-Scheyer explained. “But these students have shown potential and promise and I am hopeful that, once they are successful at Cerritos, they will transition to CSULB and complete a degree and credential program.”
The program’s first cohort of students is expected to reach CSULB in 2012. The current project is the latest in a series of partnerships between Cerritos College and CSULB, the dean pointed out. “Cerritos Community College and CSULB’s College of Education have been involved together with a number of teacher pathway projects and have built a strong relationship,” she said.