CREATING RELEVANCE FOR STUDENTS THROUGH INDUSTRY ENGAGEMENT

“Reading and talking about it in a classroom is not the same as seeing first-hand the workforce I want to join in action.”

Sebastian V., student, SRJC Summer Health Careers Academy

COUNTY-WIDE COORDINATED WORK-BASED LEARNING INITIATIVE

The Career Technical Education (CTE) Foundation Sonoma County and the Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE) have partnered on a new model to bring more relevance into today’s classrooms through work-based learning. The model, a first of its kind in the North Bay, will provide a county-wide coordinated system for linking educators and students with local businesses, and is being piloted as a model for other regions.

The purpose of the program is to provide additional resources for SCOE’s work-based learning strategy.  This strategy seeks to provide students with opportunities to develop relevant skills and to participate in job-related training required by today’s high skill, high demand jobs. Work-based learning serves to create relevance in the classroom and is used as an instructional strategy for teachers.  Such connections with real world and local industry will also help create a skilled local workforce to help fill the skills-employment gap identified by local high-growth industries.

CTE Foundation is the Industry Intermediary for the initiative. In this role, CTE Foundation serves as the industry “Hub”, or coordinated point of contact, and is responsible for recruiting industry in work-based learning opportunities.

Local business leaders and Human Resources professionals are encouraged to contact CTE Foundation to learn more about the initiative and how they might participate in immersive job-specific learning opportunities, including hosting job shadows, creating and mentoring students through industry-related projects, and providing work experience.

By joining us in this effort, businesses can have a direct impact on the educational experience of its future workforce and generate excitement for their industry. Importantly, industry participation helps educators stay current with industry needs, and ensures that the skills and training students receive in the classroom are relevant.

CTE Foundation is in the initial stages of creating an online database that will allow employers to search available requests for work-based learning opportunities and to connect with work-based learning coordinators at local schools. Until this database is complete, interested parties are encouraged to contact Brandon Jewell at bjewell@ctesonomacounty.org or 707-545-1118. You can also fill out our simple survey and let us know how you would like to participate!