First Food & Beverage Manufacturing Student/Industry Symposium a Success!

Students Connect with Employees and Hiring Managers to Learn About Career Opportunities

Fifteen food and beverage manufacturers joined CTE Foundation in a first-ever event designed to introduce high school and college students to the wide variety of career paths available in the industry. From production and bottling line design, engineering, and maintenance, to food chemistry, quality control, and product delivery, over 100 participating students learned how their skills and interests could lead to fulfilling jobs right here in Sonoma County.

Straus Family Creamery, E&J Gallo, Whole Foods, Cowgirl Creamery, Petaluma Poultry, and American Ag Credit sponsored the event. Jackson Family Wines brought a mobile bottling line to demonstrate some of the complex machinery required to bring products to market, and the mechanical skills required to operate them.

Check out our video to hear what students have to say about the event and the opportunities they uncovered for themselves.

North Bay Business Journal and Press Democrat were on site to report on events, read the full article here.

CTE in Action: Sonoma Valley HS Student Takes on Power Mechanics

Student stands next to lawn mower in SVHS Power Mechanics class

Annie has a look of intense concentration on her face. Peering in to the depths of a piece of machinery with the help of a flashlight held by her fellow student, she cranks an unseen part into place, intent on re-assembling the four-stroke combustion engine at her work station. She is the only girl in the class.

Faced with a choice to enroll in either a newspaper class or Power Mechanics, Annie chose to go with the traditionally male-dominated course. “I’m involved in a lot of Agriculture classes already, so I thought I’d take one more,” she said, “I thought I’d get to learn something new, and it would be a fun experience.”

Power Mechanics is one of many electives in Sonoma Valley High School’s Agriculture Academy/Career Pathway program.

The class teaches the basics of engine design, repair, and maintenance, providing students an opportunity to learn technical skills relevant to the agriculture industry in a hands-on environment.

When asked how she feels about being the only girl in class, fifteen year-old Annie smiles. “It’s a little different,” she says, “when I first started the class I was really quiet and didn’t talk to anyone because they were older and felt intimidating.” She laughs, reflecting on those first days. “I have some friends in here now, I got used to them, they’re all really funny and pretty nice, so it’s easier now.”

Annie clearly enjoys the technical knowledge she’s learned in the class. When asked how she is applying her new skills, she smiles broadly and says, “Right now I’m repairing my dad’s lawn mower.” Annie’s family owns a dairy and a vineyard, so in addition to regular lawn maintenance, there is always farm equipment that needs to be repaired and maintained. Annie is happy that she can now help with these chores, and it sounds like her father is too.

“He thinks it’s pretty cool and he’s excited that he can talk to me about some of this stuff,” she says.

Engine maintenance aside, Annie plans on staying in the family business. She is enrolled in Plant and Soil Science and is planning to take a viticulture class in the near future.