At CCE, we know that one of the key obstacles to engagement and educational improvement for students of color is the lack of teachers who look like them. Having a same-race teacher significantly improves student outcomes and reduces disparities between students of color and white students: if they can see it, they can be it. But Washington Post research has shown that only .1% of Latino, 4.5% of Asian, and 7% of Black students attend a school system where the portion of teachers of their race equals or exceeds the percentage of students of that race. CCE’s Los Angeles-based Community Partnerships for Teacher Pipeline (CPTP) works to build a community-based pipeline that strengthens the teaching profession by increasing the number of teachers of color.

Through strong partnerships with three Los Angeles-area community colleges (Rio Hondo, El Camino, and Cerritos) and enhanced mentoring initiatives, CPTP breaks down the barriers that block potential teachers of color from entering the profession, including language, credentialing, and standardized testing. And from the outset, CPTP has made sustainability a key aspect of the program. Because CPTP’s equity-based approach requires listening to and incorporating the voices of those chronically marginalized and unheard, it is essential that programs be designed for the long haul.

One exciting new project that will help sustain these gains is CCE’s Teacher Apprenticeship Program (TAP), which takes a proven apprenticeship model from the skilled trades and applies it to the teacher pipeline. Done in conjunction with both the US Department of Labor and California Division of Apprenticeship Standards (DAS) under California’s Department of Industrial Relations (DIR), TAP will not only 1) expand the pipeline by involving high school students as pre-apprentices; but also 2) help reduce barriers for teachers of color from under-resourced communities by providing present payment (while apprenticing) and future employment opportunities once they have completed the program.

Loosely modeled on a successful pilot apprenticeship program in Tennessee but designed, as with all CCE initiatives, for the specific communities we serve, the CA TAP is currently building partnerships across the educational spectrum and aims to launch operations in 2023. We are excited to discover the ways this new program will not only strengthen CPTP’s current pipeline, but also provide even more opportunities for future teachers of color and the students they will inspire.