Santa Rosa, California (June 10, 2013) –
Six school districts will receive $17,000 to $20,000 a year each renewable up to five years to expand course offerings and workforce training opportunities through Sonoma County’s Career Technology Education (CTE) Fund. The grants are from a fund established in 2012 with the Community Foundation Sonoma County, initially by private donors Tony Crabb and Barbara Grasseschi, for the purpose of supporting educational efforts designed to prepare students to become successful citizens in the 21st century and truly be college and career ready. The fund grew rapidly when the County of Sonoma approved a five year commitment at $50,000 per year, which was equally matched by the John Jordan Foundation, for a total pledge of half a million dollars through 2016. “We know one of the keys to a stronger economy is investing in our local schools and providing high school and college students with access to modern and innovative job skills programs. Local government and the Sonoma County business community are partnering to provide our young people with the workforce tools they need to thrive in this new economy”, Fourth District Supervisor, Mike McGuire says of the County’s support. Additional private donations are being sought to further enhance the fund. “Our vision is to provide more opportunities for students, our future workforce, to experience the hands-on learning and exploration necessary to connect their education to the real world and specifically match with the economic and workforce development needs of Sonoma County,” expresses Tony Crabb, CTE Fund Advisory and owner of Puma Springs Vineyards.
More than 350 Career Technical Education courses are currently offered through 15 Sonoma County high schools and include hands-on training in industry related courses in agriculture, arts, media and communications, automotive, building trades, business, finance, manufacturing, culinary arts, healthcare, energy, information services and retail trade. “To ensure the economic vitality of Sonoma County, we have to invest in local education programs that are aligned with the key economic drivers of our county and to ensure success for all students, from middle school through post secondary education” says Stephen Jackson, Director of Career Development/Workforce Preparation Services, Sonoma County Office of Education. “This includes applying essential academic standards in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) throughout all our CTE courses.”
In addition to funding, the success of the CTE program relies on the strength of private/public partnerships that include the County of Sonoma, Sonoma County Office of Education, Sonoma State University, Santa Rosa Junior College, area school districts, and numerous local employers, sponsors, and organizations.