$15 Million State Pathways Grant to Compliment Efforts of Local Career Technical Education (CTE) Fund

Santa Rosa, California (June 4, 2014) –

The Career Technical Education (CTE) Fund of Sonoma County will serve as a key partner in the recently announced California Career Pathways Trust grant of $15 million awarded to the Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE), as lead agency for the six-county alliance who will benefit from the funding.  A portion of the multi-million dollar state grant will be directed to Sonoma County schools and will help local school districts plan for and develop their career pathway programs, train and coach their teachers, equip their classrooms and provide valuable work based learning coordinators.  This development work at the district level is essential for establishing a “Model CTE Program” that meet the standards for funding from the CTE Fund.

The CTE Fund, a Committee Advised Fund of the Community Foundation Sonoma County, was founded in 2012 by private donors Tony Crabb and Barbara Grasseschi, with a mission to expand and enhance the career technical training and work readiness for Sonoma County students that align with the workforce needs of the County.  Grants from the CTE Fund are primarily at the High School level and focused on developing new CTE programs that align with Sonoma County’s five key economic development industries as identified by the Economic Development Board and include: Advanced Manufacturing (Including STEM), Construction/Green Business, Health Care, Sonoma Wine/Agriculture/Tourism, and Professional and Innovation Services.

The Fund recently announced their second year of approved grants to local high school for CTE programs totaling $213,000 for school year 2014/15.  The Fund has raised over $960,000 since 2012, in donations and pledges through year 2017 from public and private donors.  Following initial pledges from the John Jordan Foundation and the County of Sonoma totaling $505,000 over five years, donations/pledges have nearly doubled the fund’s total and include a combination of private individual, family foundation and corporate gifts.  Other top contributors to the fund include Tony Crabb/Barbara Grasseschi, the Larry L. Hillblom Foundation,

American Ag Credit, Big John’s Market, Gardenworks Inc., Hotel Healdsburg, Kaiser Permanente, Redwood Credit Union, the Soiland Family Fund and Herb/Jane Dwight.

Goals for the coming year include continuing to invest in the expansion of high-quality, new CTE programs at the high school level and developing regional training programs in such industry areas as manufacturing, health care, and construction training.  The regional training approach will provide the necessary course work at the high school level and matriculate to the JC to help fill the pipeline of trained workers for key industry segments of Sonoma County.

Over the two years of granting, a total of ten new CTE programs/courses have been added in the County through six different school districts (seven high schools) largely focused on hands-on learning programs in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).  In addition to the STEM programs, also funded are two programs in Agriculture/Culinary and include a first of it’s kind Farm to Table program at Healdsburg High School and a new Plant and Soil Science course at Sonoma Valley High School.  Additional programs were funded at the middle school level offering career exploration opportunities to as many as 1,950 students countywide through the Sonoma County Office of Education.

Additional donations are being sought to further enhance the Fund. “We believe it’s imperative to provide multi-year investments within the education system to support workforce development and economic stability for Sonoma County.  Through our support, the CTE Fund is helping to drive systemic change and create large impacts for schools county-wide,” says Lisa Wittke Schaffner, Executive Director, The John Jordan Foundation.

 For more information regarding the CTE Fund, the grant process and/or if you are interested in supporting the Fund, contact Kathy Goodacre, Executive Director, kgoodacre@ctesonomacounty.org or by calling (707) 537-1679.