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About CAA


The San Mateo Career Advancement Academy's mission is to provide career technical education in a supportive learning environment and prepare students for high wage careers and additional opportunities in higher education.


The San Mateo Community College Career Advancement Academy (San Mateo CAA) offers courses that bridge students into higher wage employment opportunities and college degrees through job training and basic skills programs that provide contextualized education designed to help individuals who are seeking a new career path.

Our focus on providing an educational experience that fosters improved motivation, accelerated learning, broadened career aspirations, and increased interest in knowledge is central to our mission. We accomplish this with maximized support through faculty and staff who are dedicated to student success, programs with relevant content, and vital partnerships within the community.

All San Mateo CAAs build on partnerships between the local community colleges, employers, workforce boards, social service agencies and community based organizations. These partnerships are instrumental in designing and implementing broad-based outreach, providing individual support and case management, and employment gateways to businesses and labor. 

The Career Advancement Academies are a State wide initiative with programs in the San Francisco East Bay, the Central Valley and El Camino College in the LA region. The San Mateo CAA is supported with funding from the California Community College Chancellors Office with additional assistance from the Bay Area Workforce Funding Collaborative. Career Ladders Project provides technical assistance for all Career Advancement Academy programs.

The Career Advancement Academy is based on the following evidence-based, high-impact practice:

  • Community learning groups where students support each other through the program
  • Coordinating support services from the College, Workforce Investment Board and community partners
  • Contextualization of math and English to the career path
  • Stackable certificates - allowing students to obtain employable skills throughout the training which includes incremental exit and entry points


The Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges adopted a major policy statement, Ladders of Opportunity, calling for a comprehensive career ladders initiative in California. Using the frame work of this major policy, the Career Advancement Academy is a community college program designed to establish a pipeline to college and high wage careers for low-income young adults who face academic and personal barriers to post-secondary education and employment.

Launched in late 2007, San Mateo CAAs' goal was to increase foundational skills in reading, writing and mathematics while enrolling students in career technical training programs that lead to careers or additional higher education opportunities.

The San Mateo Career Academy, as a part of the San Mateo Community College District, was adopted in 2010 with inclusion of the Automotive training program at Skyline College and later added Allied Health in 2011. The Career Advancement Academy currently offers programs for Allied Health, Automotive, Early Childhood Education, and Warehousing and Logistics.

Career Pathways

Earning industry-recognized certification is the first step to launching your career. The career pathways at CAA are designed for clear entry and exits for both college and career through the certificate programs. Successfully receiving your credentials lets employers know that you have achieved basic and advanced competencies that make you an attractive job candidate. Our programs in both Automotive and Allied Health are designed specifically for your success.

CAA pathways at Skyline College:

Skyline College offers CAA pathways in the following areas: Allied HealthAutomotive Technology, BiotechnologyEarly Childhood Education and Legal Careers.

CAA Locations

CAA is part of the San Mateo County Community College District. Classes are held on all three campuses: Cañada CollegeCollege of San Mateo and Skyline College located throughout San Mateo County. Choose any campus for bridge courses then move into the CAA program that offers your career path. For maps and directions to each campus follow the links to Cañada CollegeCollege of San Mateo and Skyline College.


The San Mateo CAA partners with a variety of organizations and industry to provide the best possible network for student success. Some of the partners with CAA are the San Mateo County Workforce Development, a division of San Mateo County Human Services Agency; SparkPoint, a United Way of the Bay Area organization, that brings together community resources; Careers Ladders Project of California, Honda Motors, and Wheel Works.