About the Cradle-to-Career System

Our Vision

The Cradle-to-Career System seeks to foster evidence-based decision-making to help Californians build more equitable futures and empower individuals to reach their full potential.


Legislation passed in 2019 called for the establishment of a statewide, longitudinal data system for California. Over the course of 2020 and the first half of 2021, more than 200 people from 15 state agencies and many educational institutions, research and policy organizations, and community groups worked together to design a blueprint for the Cradle-to-Career System.

The extensive planning process, which was facilitated by WestEd, included multiple subcommittees that considered various aspects of data system development, including technology and security, legal frameworks, data definitions, and community engagement. A workgroup composed of entities that will provide information and state agencies with expertise in data considered the findings of these subcommittees and advice from two advisory groups made up of community members. Governor Newsom and the Legislature approved funding for the Cradle-to-Career System in its 2021-22 budget. The data system will be implemented by the Government Operations Agency.

Read the recommendations from the planning process:

Read Cradle-to-Career Data System: Report to the Legislature (September 2022)

What is the Cradle-to-Career System?

The Cradle-to-Career System will provide data-informed tools to help students reach their college and career goals and deliver information on education and workforce outcomes. This user-friendly system will include resources focused on early learning through K-12 and higher education, as well as on the financial aid and social services that help students reach their goals.

Why is it being built?

    • California’s information on early education, K-12 schools, colleges, social services, and employment is separate and disconnected. 
    • It is difficult to share information to support planning and transitions for students. 
    • It is not possible to explore outcomes of Californians–from early childhood through adulthood–and the factors that help shape their outcomes, all in one place.
    • Actionable information needs to be in the hands of communities and families.

Who is it for?

Our tools will be designed to help a wide range of users find the most relevant information and use it to create better outcomes for students.

  1. For Students and Families:
      • Explore key information to help plan for, apply to, and pay for college. 
      • Streamline the college and financial aid application process.
      • Monitor the status of college and financial aid applications.
  2. For Educators:
      • Streamline college and financial aid application review. 
      • Monitor students’ college planning and application progress to support targeted interventions.
      • Develop action plans based on data about learning, supportive services, and employment.
  3. For Advocates and Researchers:
      • Analyze data collected from multiple sources to shape policy and advance educational equity.


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