Burbank Unified will be one of just a few school districts statewide to get a $75,000-grant to help adult education students transition to higher education, officials announced Thursday.

Grant recipients had to demonstrate a “clear and substantial plan” for assisting adult students in their efforts to graduate into college or vocational career institutions, according to an announcement from state superintendent of public instruction, Tom Torlakson.

“California’s demand for a highly educated workforce continues to grow, and we must keep up,” Torlakson said in a statement.

The principal of Burbank Adult School, Joseph Stark, said in an email that he was “thrilled” the district was among the 10 districts to receive the money, which will support individualized college counseling and build ties with local colleges and vocational institutions to act as a bridge for resources and opportunities.

“This shows that the work we are doing to support adult learners to transition effectively to college and higher education is going to continue to be a major focus for our program going forward,” he said.

He also noted the importance of adult students to go beyond getting their diplomas, given the competitive nature of the workforce.

Without a higher education degree or advanced career training, Stark said, “adults will find it almost impossible to earn a living wage in an increasingly competitive job market."

-- Jason Wells and Megan O'Neil

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