Kaiser Permanente Supports Health Career Pathway Programs

Northern California Community Benefit Programs Awards $95,000 to Fund Health Careers Academy and Summer Health Careers Institute

CTE Foundation is happy to announce its renewed partnership with Kaiser Permanente Northern California Community Benefit Program. The grant supports work to expand and enhance two signature programs that enable high school students to explore a wide variety of careers in healthcare while learning technical and soft skills required by the industry. Implemented by Santa Rosa Junior College, students learn through a series of lectures, labs, and job shadows at local institutions. Importantly, participants earn both high school and college credit. Read the stories of two students who participated in last year’s Summer Health Careers Institute, and check out links to both programs below. Registration is now open for Fall 2017 Health Careers Academy!


Daisy always knew that she would go to college one day, but she really didn’t start thinking about what it would take to get there until encouraged by her teachers at Casa Grande High School. “College felt far away,” she says, “In Mexico, education is really different, and I didn’t have a sense of the process.” Daisy’s Clinical Biology teacher knew that she was interested in becoming a nurse and told her that the SRJC’s Summer Health Careers Institute would be a good experience, and it would help her prepare for ongoing education.

Daisy talks enthusiastically about the application process, saying that not only was it her first real interview experience, but it also helped her learn how to present herself in a professional way. “You can’t be trying to help people and not be passionate about helping others,” she says, and learning how to express that passion verbally was an important experience for her.

During the program, Daisy gained a much clearer picture of her potential career pathways and the required education to get there. The immersive, hands-on learning opportunities have only fueled Daisy’s passion for helping others. When asked about the class sessions that inspire her most, she first tells a story about being able to watch nurses in action at St. Joseph’s hospital, and then how helping them with their patients made her feel a strong sense of purpose. She then goes on to describe other classes, such as shadowing a public health official in the field, and observing hospital doctors in cardio and in pediatrics, and how those experiences have inspired her to think beyond her original goals. “Every week I change my mind about where I want to go. It helps me out because I now know I have a lot of other choices too, not just nursing. I know because of this program that there are a lot of things in healthcare that I can do.”


Throughout his youth, Bryan has committed to helping others. Growing up he would sometimes end up in a hospital, and it was there that he saw first-hand how caring doctors and nurses could be. It was an experience that impacted him greatly, “I want to be in a position to help others, to comfort them, to make sure things at home are good,” he says.

Outside of school, Bryan works 4-5 days a week at a local pizza restaurant, teaches Tae Kwon Do to little kids, and volunteers at both the food bank and at Petaluma Hospital. While getting his homework done is a challenge with these extra-curricular activities, he is grateful to have the opportunity to participate in the Summer Health Careers Institute. “This program is making me stay focused on my goals for the future. It’s worth giving up my summer to do this,” he states with a smile.

When asked about what he appreciates about the program most he begins by  saying, “I cannot stop talking about this things I have learned these last weeks, it’s incredible!” He starts by sharing how he has already used the techniques learned in the Crucial Conversations training at both his work and with his Tae Kwon Do kids. He then talks about his experiences shadowing people at the hospital, learning about how to chart, and observing the process of diagnosing patients.

But most importantly for him was learning that there are options in healthcare beyond simply going to medical school. The program has shown him other pathways that could lead to a career as a doctor while allowing him to work and gain experience along the way. At the moment, he feels the best approach is to start as a nurse, then work his way to physician’s assistant, perhaps becoming a trauma doctor, and then decide if committing to extra schooling is right for him. “A step-by-step program makes me feel more comfortable,” he says, “And this course has helped me create a laddered approach to learning and building my career.”


Summer Health Careers Institute - 5 Week Summer Program

Health Careers Academy - Academic School Year Program

Community WISE Kick-Off Event Raises $30,000 in Pledges!

CTE Foundation, Sonoma State University, and Community Leaders Gather to Discuss Importance of Supporting Women and Girls Pursuing STEM Education and Careers

Community WISE (Women Investing in STEM Equity), a project of CTE Foundation, made its official debut this past weekend and quickly earned enthusiastic support from local industry and community leaders.


Dr. Judy Sakaki, President of Sonoma State University, and her husband, Patrick McCallum, hosted the intimate gathering at their home Sunday. Dr. Sakaki shared her story of breaking barriers and overcoming gender bias throughout her career, and spoke to the need for programs that support future female leaders in the county.

Kathy Goodacre and Dr. Lynn Stauffer, co-leaders of Community WISE, provided background on the program, its Mission and goals, and future plans for investment in local initiatives that inspire and prepare girls and young women in pursuit of STEM education and careers.

Three students – Tania Deleva from Sonoma State University, Isabel Nunez-Perez from Healdsburg High School, and Miranda Pokorny from Technology High School – shared personal stories of the challenges each faced as young women forging their way through science, technology, and engineering education.

Lisa Wittke Schaffner, Executive Director of the John Jordan Foundation, and Hamish Gray, Senior Vice President at Keysight, each addressed the group and pledged their financial support to launch the program. Lisa and Hamish, both CTE Foundation Board Members, discussed the positive impacts on work force development and the local economy achieved by encouraging more girls to explore careers in STEM, and asked members of the audience to join them in the effort. Additional pledges were received following the presentation, generating more than $30,000 in pledged support.

About Community WISE

In 2016, CTE Foundation, in partnership with several local organizations and women leaders, set out to form a leadership group to address the formidable gender gap for girls and women in pursuit of Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) education and careers. Community WISE was formed under the guidance of female leadership from CTE Foundation, Sonoma State University, Sonoma County Office of Education, Keysight Technologies, Straus Family Creamery, Sonic, and students in Engineering/Technology pathway programs in local high schools.

Today, Community WISE seeks to convene a coalition of local employers, education institutions, students and community leaders who will identify and invest in engaging learning opportunities that inspire and prepare more girls and young women to pursue STEM majors and careers. Community WISE believes that our STEM workforce issues can only be solved by diverse partners collaborating to create disruptive solutions that promote equity for all girls and underrepresented racial minorities.

To learn more about Community WISE, or to join the coalition, please see our program web page, or contact Kathy Goodacre at 707-708-7080.

Community WISE Members Earn Recognition for Achievements

About Community WISE: In partnership with Career Technical Education (CTE) Foundation and Sonoma State University, Community WISE (Women Investing in STEM Equity) is a coalition of local employers, educators, students and community leaders who are committed to identifying and investing in strategies that empower girls and women in STEM education and careers.

Congratulations are in order for Community WISE Steering Committee members, Isabel Nunez Perez and Miranda Pokorny.

Each earned important recognition this week for their outstanding leadership, community service, and academic achievements.

Isabel was chosen as one of ten high school seniors to receive a Press Democrat Community Youth Service Award. The award recognizes students for their volunteerism and commitments to helping others. Winners receive $1,000 and were chosen from 131 nominations from 16 schools, according to Wednesday’s announcement in the Press Democrat.

Isabel attends Healdsburg High School and was recognized for her work encouraging young students – especially girls and minorities – to pursue STEM education and careers. She mentored a team of elementary school girls in a robotics competition, helping them brainstorm and program the robots while sharing her experiences as a science and technology student.  She loves to tell girls that engineering is not just for boys.

“Engineering for me is much more than numbers,” she said to a PD correspondent. “It has allowed me to resonate with my inner rebel, challenge stereotypes and be part of something bigger than myself.”

Miranda Pokorny was selected to receive the most prestigious scholarship award offered by San Francisco State University – the Presidential Scholars Distinction-in-Service Program. According to the University, the award recognizes high-achieving freshmen that have distinguished themselves as scholars and leaders in their communities, and is offered to just 5-10 first-time freshmen each year.

Miranda attended Technology High School in Rohnert Park, and is a strong advocate for girls and young women in STEM. Her personal experience of gender discrimination and bullying has led her to work with the Equal Rights Advocates, a large gender equity law firm in San Francisco, who is using her case to develop training materials and guidelines to prevent discrimination in schools nationwide.

Miranda will soon begin her studies to become a Female Rights Advocate. “When I think about the future, all I can do is smile,” Miranda said, “Because I will get the opportunity to make a difference in other people’s lives, and that is the greatest gift I could ever receive.”

We are so proud of these young women, and grateful for their participation on the Community WISE team. Congratulations, Miranda and Isabel!


About Community WISE: In partnership with Career Technical Education (CTE) Foundation and Sonoma State University, Community WISE (Women Investing in STEM Equity) is a coalition of local employers, educators, students and community leaders who are committed to identifying and investing in strategies that empower girls and women in STEM education and careers.

Nearly half of the jobs of the future require competencies in STEM, and yet women account for just 24% of the STEM workforce. Women’s under-representation in STEM fields begins early, with gender gaps in STEM interests beginning in middle school and growing throughout high school, college, and career. Far too many girls and women are discouraged from pursuing success in STEM fields.

Our Mission is to invest in STEM initiatives for girls and women to enrich their learning and career opportunities. Our purpose is to build resources and lead change so that every woman and girl in Sonoma County achieves her full potential. We are committed to women’s economic self-sufficiency and we believe improving educational and career opportunities for girls and women in STEM fields will empower more women to secure economic independence through greater lifetime earnings and increased entrepreneurial opportunities. For more information, or to become a member of the coalition, please contact Kathy Goodacre, Executive Director, 707-708-7080. Or check out our Community WISE webpage.

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.

Sonoma Clean Power’s New Video Featuring Switch Lab

Thank you, Sonoma Clean Power, for producing this great video featuring the Switch Lab and the terrific impact it is having on our local students! The Switch Lab has proven itself to be a powerful vehicle for teaching students about clean energy solutions for everyday challenges. This hands-on curriculum helps students build both technical and soft skills, such as creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration, and applying academic learning in math, science, and technology.