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College Achievement and Readiness Education (C.A.R.E) Program

The purpose of this project is to develop and evaluate the efficacy of an innovated 12-week College Achievement and Readiness Education (CARE) Program. The program intends to promote the post-secondary transition and academic success of underrepresented high school students’ by providing them with competency-based career-technical education in pharmaceutical sciences.

The CARE program is an adaptive intervention from regular occupational training program, which focus solely on delivering career education and employment training, the curricular and instructional design of the CARE is an integration of technical knowledge and skills with the five core competencies (i.e. critical thinking, written communication, oral communication, information literacy and quantitative reasoning). The pharmacy technician courses are pillared by training of the five core competencies of students via class presentations, essay/journal/report writing, quizzes, and course projects.

The CARE program is based on theories and empirical evidence suggesting that post-secondary transition can be difficult for underrepresented students, including minority and students from low socio-economic backgrounds. Thus, providing CARE program which facilitates not only career and employment knowledge and skills, but also core competencies essential to college academic knowledge and skills can presumably improve students’ college readiness.

The CARE program will be developed by the research team of AUHS Foundation. In collaboration of the Los Angeles County School District, the AUHS Foundation will implement the CARE model in randomly selected schools in LA County. The program will be offered to interested and qualified high school students during their year of 12th grade before postsecondary enrollment. The program will be delivered 6 hours daily for 13 weeks after students’ regular school time. After completing all program requirements, students were given the opportunity to take the pharmacy technician test and those who pass will become certified pharmacy technicians. The CARE model will be assessed and tracked for one additional year in college in comparison to regular ROPs and control groups (not affiliated with any interventions) regarding its efficacy for improving students’ five core competencies and their post-secondary enrollments and academic achievement.