K12 Strong Workforce Program FAQs


1.1  Is funding for K12 SWP “ongoing”?

Yes, K12 SWP funding is an ongoing part of the California state education budget. LEAs will receive $150 million annually as the state budget is enacted each year.

1.2 How much are the K12 SWP funding levels per LEA?

Funding levels are based on total Average Daily Attendance (ADA) of all the applying LEAs (both lead and partner agencies). In 2019–20, the maximum allowable funding amounts based on the ADA totals of the participating LEAs are: 1) No more than $250,000 for ADA up to 140; 2) No more than $500,000 for ADA up to 550; 3) No more than $1,000,000 for ADA up to 10,000; and 4) No more than $2,000,000 for over 10,000 ADA.

1.3  If funding is “ongoing” do you have to re-apply for funding for each cycle?

Yes, you have to re-apply for funding for each cycle. K12 SWP will allow for up to a 30-month spending period for each awarded grant. An LEA can apply in year 2, year 3 and so on to continue scaling your pathway improvement, and transitioning students from secondary to postsecondary. LEAs should plan strategically for how to roll out and ramp up pathway improvements over multiple cycles of funding and to leverage funding with other sources.

1.4 Since K12 SWP offers multi-year funding, do we ask for all the funding in our application up front or ask for funding each cycle?

Funded applications have 30 months in which to expend the funds. (e.g., Grants awarded in the spring 2020 will have until December 31, 2022 to expend the funds.) Obtaining a K12 SWP grant in the first year will not preclude you from applying again when second- and third-year funding is released. Subsequent funding requests could be to augment, add to the pathway improvement, or to scale. The 30-month window is a way to add stability to enable funding decisions.

1.5  How many applications can an LEA submit?

Beginning in 2019-20, LEAs can submit up to three applications for K12 SWP funds per year. Whether an LEA is listed as a lead agency or a partner agency, the LEA is limited to three applications.

1.6  Can we use community college SWP funds as match?

Yes. The $248 million SWP funding for community colleges can be used as matching funds.

1.7  Can funds be used for code upgrades or to improve facilities?

No, funds cannot be used for code upgrades or facility costs, but you can use K12 SWP funds to purchase equipment.

1.8  Can we use career education facilities funds as match?

No, facilities funding (eg. Prop 51) is restricted from being a match.

1.9  What is the breakdown of LEA size (enrollment) and funding allocation? Do we know how much is earmarked for small LEAs?

K12 Strong Workforce Program sets aside the following percentage of funding in a region by ADA:

  • 4% of funding is designated for total ADA 140 or less
  • 8% of funding is designated for total ADA 141–550
  • 88% of funding is designated for total ADA above 550

The program allows the K-12 Selection Committee to determine otherwise in consultation with the regional consortium.

1.10  If we don’t receive funding in the first round, can we re-apply during the next funding cycle?

Yes. LEAs are encouraged to apply for future funding cycles.

1.11  If the grant application ask is too much, would the awarded amount be adjusted or would the grant application be declined in whole?

If the application budget exceeds the maximum amount allowed as specified in the Request for Applications, the application may be rejected by the Regional Selection Committee. LEAs can also expect that award amounts might be adjusted according to how well the Selection Committee determines that the application meets the priorities for funding and the outcomes for students.

1.12  Credentialed teachers for many pathways are difficult to find. Does funding allow for paying a non-credentialed CTE teacher?

All CTE teachers should have a CA CTE teacher credential. However, some pathway courses may be taught by non-CTE credentialed teachers, and K12 SWP does support the efforts of those teachers. Refer to Appendix B: Guidelines, Definitions, and Allowable Expenditures in the RFA for specifics and guidelines.

1.13  What percentage of award amount should we/can we invest in personnel?

Financially strong districts have a rule of thumb to not spend more than 75% of a categorical on personnel cost. In a few years’ time, your career education programs may need a monies retool/upgrade to keep them relevant. So, it is best to give yourself some financial flexibility by not committing all your pathway improvement funds to ongoing personnel costs.

1.14 Can the award of CTEIG funds preclude you from receiving SWP funds? Are these truly separate?

The applications and awards for CTEIG and K12 SWP are separate. LEAs that have been awarded CTEIG funds are encouraged to apply for K12 SWP funds to strengthen the CTE efforts. K12 SWP applicants will be asked to show how the two sources can complement each other.

1.15  We want to continue the good work that we started with the structure of this grant. How do we hold on to talent when we have multiple funding streams with different timelines and outcomes? Need clarification and guidance.

Funds are designed to help an LEA think strategically about programs, and to reach the intended outcomes for student attainment called out for under K12 SWP. The 30-month expenditure window, allowing LEAs to submit applications each year, and the on-going nature of these funds may enable LEAs to attain some increased stability over previous funding streams for productive investments. LEAs are encouraged to become actively engaged in their region’s planning process. The regional plans are an important determinant of how grants are awarded. Over time a region may craft plans that move towards greater stability for particularly successful investments. LEAs should avoid supplanting funds.

Match Funds

2.1  Are the dollars aligned to WIOA?

Yes. Funding and metrics are aligned with WIOA to incentivize collaboration with Workforce Development Boards where doing so strengthens pathways.
Strong Workforce or WIOA-aligned funding can be used as a match. Legislation also encourages the use of philanthropic dollars.

2.2  Can community colleges match funds?

Yes, and this type of blending is encouraged to leverage funding for a successful pathway improvement.

2.3 What are the matching expectations?

All K12 SWP grantees are required to provide a proportional dollar match:

  • For ROCPs operated either by a joint powers authority or by a county office of education, one dollar ($1) for every one dollar ($1) awarded. The ROCP needs to be the Lead Agency on the application.
  • For all other LEAs, two dollars ($2) for every one dollar ($1) awarded. 

Match funds can come from many sources, including your district, partnering community colleges, and industry partners. Match funds may be financial matches and in-kind matches, but financial matches must constitute 50% or more of the required match amount. CTEIG funds, among others, are not permitted as match funding. The Request for Application provides a complete list of acceptable and unacceptable financial match sources.

Pathway & Industry Sectors

3.1  We’ve worked hard to align our career technical education courses with the industry sectors. Will the options for choosing pathways be aligned to the industry sectors?

Yes, CDE and CCCCO created a crosswalk to align industry sectors.

3.2  Are “sectors” in the Strong Workforce the same as “pathways” in K–12?

California Community Colleges use the term “sectors” to describe each of the 15 priority areas, which often translate to “pathways” in high schools. The sectors between the systems have been crosswalked.

3.3  How can we learn about what industry sector programs currently exist in California high schools?

To learn more about the different industry sectors visit the CCCCO K12 SWP website.

3.4  Can we do a pathway improvement if it doesn’t match the career technical education available at the local community college, but rather the region?

Yes, if the industry data sector supports the need for the region. Always look for making a connection between secondary and postsecondary.

Applying as a Consortia (or Statewide Charter School)

4.1  If multiple LEAs want to come together as a consortium to apply, do they submit a single application? And if one member of the consortia also wants to go it alone, do they submit a second application?

Yes. The consortium would submit a single application, listing one LEA as the lead agency and all of the other LEAs as partner agencies. An LEA can be a partner on one application and submit a second application as lead agency on their own. However, an LEA can only request K12 SWP funds on a total of 3 applications as a lead or partner agency.

When deciding whether to apply as a single applicant or as a consortium, we recommend that you propose a pathway improvement that will move the outcomes, and then let the configuration follow. Determine whether collaborative opportunities might help inform or drive the pathway improvement.

4.2  Do charter school organizations with sites around the state need to submit a proposal for each region?

The physical location the charter school site will determine what geographic region they can apply. The site must be geographically located within the region for which it applies. A statewide charter may not use funding from one region in another region without written consent of both regions.

Partnering with and Role of Community College

5.1  What is the role of the community college?

The role of the community college is to be a collaborator and communicator in this process, as well as to discuss how they are spending their SWP funds and how to share knowledge and resources, including match funds, with the LEA. K12 SWP is an opportunity for the community college and LEA to bridge their CTE programs as coherent K–14 pathways.

5.2  Our LEA is partnering with our local CC. Who is the lead agency?

For the K12 SWP the LEA is always the lead agency. It is implicit that there is a partnership between the CC and the LEA.

5.3  In the application, can you align with multiple community colleges?

Yes, you can align with multiple community colleges to strengthen K–14 CTE programs and pathways. The goal of K12 SWP is to increase the transition for students between secondary to postsecondary education and ultimately, to employment.

5.4  Is there an advantage to applications aligned with a community college? If so, what does that collaboration look like? What can community colleges do now to foster these relationships?

K12 SWP requires a partnership between the LEA and a community college. We recommend a deliberate, collaborative model that includes leadership from both the LEAs and the CCs. Frequent communication and meetings are necessary. A shared leadership model is desired.

5.5  If we have more than one CC in our region, do we choose one to partner with? Or more?

Applicants can work with multiple CCs, both within your region and in another so long as you select the CC with which you can build the secondary to postsecondary pathway for students. Target the intended student outcomes. Students should have multiple on-ramps and off-ramps for learning as a goal.

Application Process on NOVA Platform

6.1  Is there a budget section in the application?

Yes. The budget page in the application will require a budget by object codes and match information for each participating institution that is receiving grant funds or contributing to the match. The lead LEA will need to consent to assurances for use of funds on career education only.

6.2  With ADA numbers automatically populating the application, how do applicants address it when based on applying on behalf of subsets of schools (as opposed to an entire LEA/district)?

There will be an opportunity in the application to edit the ADA that was auto-populated. Legislation calls for the P2 ADA number.

6.3  When will you be issuing user names and passwords for NOVA?

Applicants that are new to the NOVA system will be given an opportunity to create a new NOVA account with a sign-up link. If you already have a K12 SWP NOVA account but can’t remember your login information, please use the forgot my password feature. 

6.4  Will NOVA let us edit our application over time?

Yes, it is intended to support edits and flexibility, and it is intended to be a collaborative tool for you and your partners. Use the same username and password to login.

K12 SWP Selection Committee

7.1  Can we establish K12 Selection Committees for each of our sub-regions?

Per Education Code §88829, each Strong Workforce Program regional consortium shall establish one K12 Selection Committee. We suggest using a regional model that ensures equal representation from sub-regions one the one K12 Selection Committee, if so desired.

7.2  What was the process for choosing the K12 SWP Selection Committee?

In 2018, the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office and the California Department of Education solicited online applications for individuals interested in serving a two-cycle term as a K12 Selection Committee member. Each Regional Consortium Review Team identified qualified candidates and nominated a group of up to 24 candidates with expertise in K–12 CTE and workforce development, representing six roles (e.g., K-12 CTE teachers and administrators, guidance career counselor, charter school representative, industry representative, at least one community college faculty or administrator) and reflecting the region’s subgroups and the same diversity of the student population. The CCCCO and CDE made final decisions.

7.3  Who will be on the K12 Selection Committee? New committee each year? How do you ensure impartiality?

The K12 Selection Committee participants are called out in legislation and is made up of K–12, community college, and industry representatives. The K12 Selection Committee is an autonomous group that receive training on NOVA (the online application and reporting platform for K12 SWP) and use a rubric to award funding. K12 Selection Committee members sign a letter of confidentiality and are held to an ethical threshold as called out in legislation to avoid conflict of interest. Members are asked for a two-year commitment to ensure institutional knowledge of pathway improvements and the intended outcomes. The region will rely on professionalism but will also put some process safeguards in place.

7.4  If you apply to be on the K12 Selection Committee is your LEA ineligible to apply?

Your LEA still may apply for funding, but the K12 Selection Committee member should not vote on funding their own pathway improvement application. It will be the responsibility of the K12 Selection Committee to ensure that all applications are reviewed without bias and that all LEAs are provided access to K12 SWP funding.

K14 Technical Assistance Providers (TAPs)

  8.1  How many Technical Assistance Providers will be hired per region?

Legislation calls for eight K14 TAPs, one per community college region.

K12 SWP Metrics

9.1  What are the K12 SWP metrics for measuring program success?

The K12 SWP Metrics are designed to measure student-level outcomes from K–12 to postsecondary education and employment. 

The K12 SWP Metrics that measure K–12 student-level outcomes:

  • Completed 2+ CTE courses in high school in the same program of study.
  • Completed 2+ CTE courses in high school in the same program of study that include early college credit, work-based learning, or third-party certification.
  • Graduated high school.
  • Enrolled in a CA Community College within one year of leaving secondary school.

The K12 SWP Metrics that measure postsecondary student-level outcomes:

  • Entered registered apprenticeship after participation in high school pre-apprenticeship program.
  • Enrolled in another form of job training (other than CA Community College). 
  • Completed 9+ CTE units in first year of CA Community College. 
  • Attained a CA Community College certificate/degree or journey level status. 
  • Transferred to a four-year institution after exiting CA Community College.

The K12 SWP Metrics that measure employment student-level outcomes:

  • Employed in a job closely related to field of study after exiting CA Community College. 
  • Median annual earnings of students after exiting CA Community College. 
  • Attained a living wage after exiting CA Community College. 

9.2 How do we collect student data for the K12 SWP metrics?

K12 SWP grant receipients do not need to collect extra data elements in addition to those required by CDE. All LEAS -- Lead and K12 Partner Agencies -- must sign an MOU with Cal-PASS Plus to facilitate the sharing of data between CDE's data system and Cal-PASS Plus.

Miscellaneous Questions

10.1  Do career technical education teachers need to be credentialed?

Yes, all state credentialing rules apply. Please check with your district or county credential analyst for more information on the appropriate credential.

10.2  Where can we find submission planning timelines/deadlines?

All information regarding timelines for the K12 SWP can be found on the K12 Strong Workforce Program website.

10.3  How does this look for continuation education?

Continuation education and other alternative models can be used to build the pathway improvement. Target students in your application that continuation education serves.

10.4  Are there considerations for county offices that support incarcerated youth?

Yes, if the pathway can lead students into college and career, then consider pathway improvements that might serve this population.

10.5  Are the deadlines presented statewide or for our region?

Deadlines are statewide.

10.6  Is there a cost for signing the memorandum of understanding (MOU) for CALPASS?

No cost for the MOU.

10.7  What are the data analytics used for?

They are used to measure the metrics called out in the legislation. We will employ data to tell the story of pathway improvement and other goals for K12 SWP funding.

10.8  Do CA Partnership Academy grants still exist?