Santa Rosa, California (March 13, 2019) – The Career Technical Education (CTE)
Foundation Sonoma County has launched its newest initiative in partnership with
the county’s largest employers and education institutions. The Sonoma Corps is
a pilot program recruiting high school students in their senior year to prepare
them for a “gap year” work experience internship following graduation. Beginning in Fall 2019, up to 20 seniors from Piner
High, identified through a competitive application process, will attend
semi-weekly classes to develop work-readiness and technical skills, meet
employers, and explore how personal interests can lead to lucrative careers
with Sonoma County employers. Upon high school graduation, participants will be
assigned to a year-long paid internship based on their learning objectives and
aligned to economic development needs in the county. After successful
completion of gap-year internships, participants will be awarded scholarships
for tuition at a post-secondary institution, preferably into education pathway
programs at SRJC and SSU.
across the country are increasingly opting to postpone
their traditional academic plans and participate in a gap year experience, a break between high school and college that might include
travel, work or volunteering before continuing academic studies. The
trend supports increased demand for structured
gap year programs, which allow young people to explore their interests and
ultimately enter their post-secondary school more energized and focused. Data shows
how students who had internships where they could apply
the knowledge and skills they were learning in the classroom are more likely to find full-time employment
after college and to be engaged in their work.[i]
The Sonoma Corps concept was developed to further a
key strategy of Strategic Sonoma’s “grow our own” approach when addressing
local workforce shortages. In its competitive assessment, Strategic Sonoma
sites the demand for workers with mechanical and technical skills, stating,
“Education-dependent technology jobs grew 36% over the past decade – compared
to only 3% overall growth.”
program manager at the Sonoma County Economic Development Board and Sonoma
Corps steering committee member, sees that many in-demand jobs increasingly
require skills and knowledge that go beyond entry-level skills.
“For at least a
decade, we have seen local companies struggle increasingly to recruit and
retain skilled employees,” Brown said. “The 2017 fires exacerbated this problem
and it’s crucial that we develop a pipeline to train young people for careers
that will keep them in the region and support the growth of our local economy.”
population is aging faster than the national average – 28% of our local
workforce was over the age 55 in 2016 – and rapidly losing residents under 25
years old due to the region’s high cost of living and perceived lack of
opportunities to earn a living wage. Concurrently, many high school graduates
find themselves unprepared to enter college – financially, emotionally, and
academically – and instead languish in transfer programs with little direction
or motivation to persevere in their studies. These same students also lack
relevant skills for efficient transition to in-demand, skilled, high-wage jobs
which would allow them to stay local.
has a proven track record in creating and funding programs that create pathways
to careers and post-secondary education,” said Jim Happ, president of Labcon
and Sonoma Corps steering committee member. “This initiative leverages CTEF’s experience
with other successful programs like the North Bay Construction Corps and expands
growth of a skilled workforce pipeline for the industries that drive our local
economy. I look forward to participating in and growing the program so that we
can continue hiring skilled workers from our community.”
About Sonoma Corps
Developed in partnership with public and private stakeholders, Sonoma
Corps is a gap year program for high school students. Several industry partners are involved in the design
and implementation of the program, and have signed up to host a “gap year”
intern with their company, including: County of Sonoma General Services
Department; E&J Gallo; Keysight Technologies; Labcon; Straus Family
Creamery; and Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART). In addition to major
employers, key education stakeholders have pledged support to bring Sonoma
Corps to fruition: Jerry Miller, Senior Dean, Career & Technical Education
and Economic Development at Santa Rosa Junior College; Lisa Vollendorf, Provost
at Sonoma State University; and Stephen Jackson, Director, CTE Partnerships at
Sonoma County Office of Education. Jen Klose, President of Santa Rosa City
Schools Board (the largest district in the County with six high schools,
including Piner) is a close collaborator on Sonoma Corps, and will be
instrumental in its pilot implementation, evaluation and model development.
Finally, Ethan Brown, Program Manager at the Economic Development Board will
represent the Strategic Sonoma coalition on the Committee. Steering Committee
activities launched February 11, 2019. All partners named above gathered to
discuss motivations for joining the effort, come to agreement on program goals
and desired outcomes, and provide input on the ideal candidate for the program.
Monthly meetings have been set for the year to guide program development,
including senior-year course curriculum, gap-year internship structure, student
recruitment and wrap-around support planning.
About Career Technical Education (CTE) Foundation
The Career Technical Education (CTE) Foundation, founded
in 2013, works to improve the economic outlook for Sonoma County’s youth by
investing resources in a coordinated system of college and career readiness
programs that lead to high-wage, high-demand, and high-skilled jobs in the county.
The aim is to significantly improve overall student success and achievement
through innovative educational programs that simultaneously mirror local
economic trends and workforce demand. This is accomplished by gathering input
from local employers about the skills gap and workforce training needs to help
guide and coordinate opportunities to build a constructive connection between
educational institutions and industry leaders while retaining the flexibility
to respond to the challenges and needs faced by both.
to Work and Working to Learn, the U.S. Chamber
of Commerce Foundation (USCCF), June 20, 2017, https://www.uschamberfoundation.org/reports/learning-work-working-learn
Santa Rosa, California (February 6, 2019) – The Career Technical Education (CTE) Foundation has approved $343,652 in grant funding for 22 technical education programs among 11 Sonoma County schools.
Now in its sixth funding cycle, the CTE Foundation has invested over $3 million since its founding in 2013, creating new programs that connect students to employers for career exploration and skill-building and spurring over 100 new classes in local schools that focus on career and technical education in industries including engineering, manufacturing, agriculture, health, and the construction trades.
The 2019-2020 funding adds two new schools to the organization’s portfolio and new classes with topics from robotics to welding technology that will expand opportunities for at least 400 students throughout the county, including more than 50 girls who will enroll in a Women in Engineering pathway at Rancho Cotati High School. The funding also aims to enhance the students’ classroom experience through supply grants that help teachers provide engaging, hands-on learning. Two planning grants were also awarded at Credo High School and Technology High School to create blueprints for pathways in regenerative agriculture and building math confidence, respectively.
“Our organization’s momentum continues, and we are thrilled with the innovative learning opportunities presented by all of our awardees that align with the county’s workforce demands,” said CTE Foundation Board Chair Bob McGee, who is also President and Chief Operating Officer at Straus Family Creamery. “We are seeing more students better prepared for in-demand careers that are both high-skilled and high-wage.”
In addition to grants for schools, the CTE Foundation invests in programs that increase relevance for student learning from the classroom to real life, and students enrolled in these programs are engaged, active learners who graduate at higher rates and are better prepared for the rigors of both college and career than their non-CTE counterparts.
To learn more about the CTE Foundation, programs, funding or donor opportunities, contact Kathy Goodacre at (707) 708-7081 firstname.lastname@example.org. To tour a CTE classroom, contact Leslie Simmons at (707) 755-5722 or email@example.com.
Last spring, the CTE Foundation, in partnership with Sonoma County Office of Education, launched a community engagement process to help develop a common definition and success measures for what it means to truly be “college and career ready” for Sonoma County graduates. Through this effort, a task force was formed to answer the question: What skills and characteristics does a K-12 graduate in Sonoma County need to demonstrate in order to successfully transition to the post K-12 world?
We are fortunate to live in a forward-thinking county, where we enjoy the collaborative support and leadership among our education, business and community partners. To help address this question and with a focus on achieving college, career and life success for EVERY student, the Task Force has chosen a powerful approach called Portrait of a Graduate (POG). This collaborative model, designed by Batelle for Kids, is transforming school districts nationwide by engaging the larger community in developing a collective vision that articulates the community’s aspirations for ALL students. During the next nine months the College and Career Ready Task Force, renamed POG Design Team, will be engaging with a broad representation of community stakeholders to answer the following:
- What are the hopes, aspirations, and dreams that our community has for our young people?
- What are the skills and habits of mind that our children need for success in this rapidly changing and complex world?
- What are the implications for the design of the learning experiences—and equitable access to those experiences—we provide in our school systems?
Several local high schools are already implementing around graduate profiles, providing a stated vision for what students should know and be able to do to succeed and prepare for “what’s next” after graduation. With the input from local districts, the development of a Sonoma County Portrait of a Graduate through a community-wide approach, can serve as a North Star for local school in setting their own strategic direction in designing the overall educational experience for students. More importantly, this collective vision can reinvigorate and re-engage our students, teachers and community stakeholders.
We are seeking input and participation from business and community leaders for the design and development of the Sonoma County POG, if you are interested, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Santa Rosa, CA (April 10th, 2018) – The Career Technical Education Foundation Sonoma County has been approved for a $1 million grant from Tipping Point Community, a prominent Bay Area funder that fights poverty in the Bay Area, to support expansion of a successful local youth training program called the North Bay Construction Corps. The funding is part of their Emergency Relief Fund, established to support the North Bay’s recovery and rebuilding efforts following the devastating fires last year that damaged thousands of homes and businesses.
The CTE Foundation and its partners in the Construction Corps program, the North Coast Builders Exchange and Sonoma Office of Education, announced the grant today noting that the funds will be used to enhance and expand the NBCC training program in response to the increased workforce needs of the building trades as the 4-county North Bay begins to rebuild. According to the CTE Foundation, the $1 million grant will be used to leverage and supplement the current support for the Construction Corps program in Sonoma County and will provide for expansion into other neighboring counties in the future.
The North Bay Construction Corps is a 5-month training program that introduces high school seniors to careers and jobs in construction in various trades. The program, now in its second year, has proven to be a very successful model that currently includes two cohorts in Sonoma County comprised of 37 young men and women who are in their last semester of high school. The CTE Foundation will work with the North Coast Builders Exchange to develop and execute programs in Napa and Lake Counties, as well as coordinate expansion of an existing Mendocino County Construction Corps program that began earlier this year. Additional interest and funding has been pledged to support expansion into Marin County as well.
“It is so important to provide engaging opportunities that inspire the next generation of tradespeople,” says Barbie Richardson, Owner of Simpson Sheet Metal and CTE Foundation Board Member. “Construction Corps encourages high school students to explore in a hands-on environment how their interests can be leveraged to create a successful career in this industry.”
The five-month training program includes classes that meet one night a week and one
Saturday a month and are exclusively taught by local construction industry representatives to give students a sampling of what it’s like to work in a variety of trades and to expose them to multiple employers. Students learn the fundamentals of tool handling, safety, electrical, plumbing, carpentry, solar, and more. They also earn certifications in Forklift and Scissor Lift Operation, OSHA 10, and CPR/First Aid, giving them a significant advantage upon completion as they seek entry level work or further training such as an apprenticeship.
The program culminates in a 2-week Boot Camp during the summer that allows students to practice their skills and experience first-hand the day-to-day work life in the industry while earning a stipend. Along with trade-based technical skills, students learn soft skills such as communication, teamwork, problem solving, leadership, and working on deadlines, which are all applied throughout the program.
“A national survey of homebuilders conducted recently revealed a startling statistic, one that likely applies to the North Bay,” said Jeff Scott, President of the Builders Exchange. “For every five construction workers who will retire over the next several years, only one new worker is entering the field. That is unsustainable.” Scott added that NCBE is enthusiastic about continuing its great partnership with the CTE Foundation which will lead to the Construction Corps concept expanding to other counties to lend support to industry workforce development goals.
In addition to funding the multi-county expansion of the program, the Tipping Point Emergency Relief Fund donation also provides funding to meet a local grant challenge to expand the program within Sonoma County. Local funders, Tony Crabb & Barbara Grasseschi, Morgan Family Foundation, Syar Foundation, and Bancroft Foundation have collectively donated $200,000 to be offered as a challenge match to the public. An additional $200,000 is needed to support the Sonoma County program through 2020. Fundraising is already underway, with commitments from the Engineering Contractors Association, BIA Bay Area, Charlie Palmer’s Pigs & Pinot Event, Windsor Education Foundation, and North Coast Builders Exchange. The resulting support would potentially fund a total of eight cohorts, including four in Sonoma County, and serving up to 240 high school seniors.
As our community is faced with one of the largest disasters in its history, both public and private funding is needed to find ways to relieve the pains and rebuild the losses. “For those not directly impacted by the fires, it might be easy to think of the tragedy that we faced last October as long past,” says Karen Fies, Director of Sonoma County Human Services and CTE Foundation Board Chair, “Yet there are thousands of displaced residents that want to go back to their homes, and the only way they can do that is if we have a strong workforce of Construction and trades professionals to put the pieces back together.”
For more information about the Career Technical Education (CTE) Foundation and/or the North Bay Construction Corps, contact Kathy Goodacre, Executive Director, at email@example.com or call 707-708-7081.