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.

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.

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.

Founder Tony Crabb Interviewed by The Press Democrat

The Press Democrat talked to our founder, Tony Crabb, to learn more about his “light-bulb moment” and the importance of bringing relevancy to education. It started one day while visiting Healdsburg High School’s Construction and Sustainability Academy, there he observed a group of students paying close attention to the math lesson the teacher was giving via instructions on how to design and build a roof.

“I realized that we needed to bring the academic element into the shop environment,” Tony said. “We had to make learning hands-on.”

Read the article in its entirety here.

Educating Students for the Real World Through Work Based Learning

Educating Students for the Real World Through Work Based Learning

NBBJ Publishes Our Thoughts on Work Based Learning

A New Model for Sonoma County

The North Bay Business Journal (NBBJ) this week published our guest article! Co-written by Kathy Goodacre, CTE Foundation Executive Director, and CTE Foundation Board Liaison Stephen Jackson from SCOE, the piece presents basic principles of Sonoma County’s work-based learning initiative and the many benefits it generates for students, local industry and the community.

Success in school over past decades has been measured by standardized test scores and college entry statistics, mostly ignoring the more intangible measure of how prepared a student is to navigate the challenges of work and life upon graduation from high school or college. The ability to regurgitate memorized knowledge is certainly easier to quantify than one’s ability to

apply critical thinking and creativity to solve a real-world challenge. But our attempt to assess educational success by multiple choice test scores has led to a slew of graduates that can recite a solution to a math problem while having no idea how to generate it or to which issues to employ its use. Nor do they have any understanding for why their academic courses matter in the real world.


Hiring and training managers in a variety of industries repeatedly lament the ill-prepared nature of today’s entry-level job candidates. Our newest members of the workforce lack basic skills in communication, project and time management, problem-solving, and self-direction, among others.


Work-based learning is currently being employed in Sonoma County schools as a strategy to better prepare students for college and career and as an instructional tool in the classroom. This approach integrates career exploration, technical and soft skills training, and hands-on industry-related project work with traditional academics, ultimately creating a deeper learning experience that is highly relevant to life after school. It ensures that students are exposed to potential careers at a young age, starting in grade school, and provides a spectrum of opportunities to observe and apply classroom learning via job shadowing, internships, and industry-mentored project work.

Read the article in its entirety here.

October is Careers in Construction Month!

October is Careers in Construction Month!

Industry analysts are projecting that more than 360,000 craft construction professionals will be needed in California by October 2019? That’s an astounding number of skilled trade jobs that need to be filled!

The National Center for Construction Education and Research and the State of California have identified October as Careers in Construction Month in order to build awareness around the variety of high wage, high demand craft careers available in construction.  In addition, the Sonoma County Economic Development Board has identified Construction/Green Services as one of five key

industry clusters that are important to local economic development over the next 10 years. In response to the opportunities presented by the industry and its benefits for our local communities, CTE Foundation is actively promoting Construction Technology programs in Sonoma County High Schools through its competitive grant program.In partnership with North Coast Builders Exchange and the Sonoma County Office of Education, CTE Foundation has launched a “Construction Corps” program this fall to recruit and train High School students interested in construction careers. Construction Corps offers a variety of activities, including workshops, job shadowing, on the job training, and summer Boot Camp, to facilitate career exploration and to develop a work-ready labor force for the industry. Students will be able to apply for the competitive program beginning October 13th and program work will begin in January.

To make this program a success, we need local industry partners to host job shadows for interested students. Each job shadow experience includes three or more hours spent with 2-3 student candidates who have indicated interest in applying for the Construction Corps program. Job shadows will take place in the month of October.

If you are interested in participating as a job shadow host for this inspirational program, please contact Patricia Biagi at pbiagi@ctesonomacounty.org or (707)708-7080.

Where the Rubber Meets the Road: Students Experience Hands-on Learning with SWITCH Electric Vehicle

Where the Rubber Meets the Road: Students Experience Hands-on Learning with SWITCH Electric Vehicle

CTE Student Stories

Ron Billberry teaches the Conceptual Physics course at Archbishop Hanna High School, a residential rehabilitation program for at risk youth. Students come to the school from a variety of challenging life situations – from dealing with drug addiction and abuse to fleeing gang violence and a potential life in prison. Instructors at the school are charged with helping motivated youth graduate high school, prepare for college, and develop technical and soft skills that will help them change their lives for the better.

The CTE Foundation chose Hanna High School through a competitive grant-making process to receive one of four SWITCH Lab Kits in 2016. The Kit provides curriculum and components for building a street legal electric vehicle, thus giving students a real world application for their coursework in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Students are also exposed to concepts in Electricity, Alternative Fuels, Manufacturing, Science, Automotive Technology, and Clean Energy Generation while working through Common Core requirements.

In alignment with CTE principles, Ron believes that every student wants to be a part of something that offers real life, hands on learning, and building the SWITCH electric vehicle represents a particularly exciting opportunity in this regard. In its inaugural year, students weren’t exactly sure what to expect of the new curriculum. Ron launched the course by taking his eight students on a tour of the SWITCH EV plant where they could see the cars up close and personal. They were thrilled to learn that the SWITCH cars were real street-worthy vehicles, and when the co-founder took each of them for a test drive, their collective energy and excitement for the class was sky high.

The students represented a full range of mechanical experience – some had worked on their own cars and some had never held a wrench. After the initial

excitement wore off, many of them were pessimistic about their ability to actually build the vehicle from the ground up. “None of us knew what we were doing,” said Carlos C., a student in the class.

“When we first got the car, everything was scrambled everywhere, and no one knew what piece was what,” said Arthur L., another student. “We talked it over and decided we needed to first identify the pieces and visualize them working together, and that helped the project come together and made it easier to assemble it.”

The course wasn’t easy, and the first time they turned the key the car wouldn’t start. The students went through a troubleshooting process – an important step in teaching them how to learn from failure – and eventually the car did start. Teamwork is another important skill practiced in the class. “Organization and good communication were really important to having good teamwork,” said Carlos. His classmate Arthur added, “I wasn’t interested in electrical work at first, but there was a kid who was and we worked together in a way where I helped him with the mechanical work and he helped me with the electrical; it was good to work together.”

Ron also asked his students to think about their environmental impacts. “We had homework assignments as we built the car, looking at the differences between an electric car and a normal gasoline car to see which was better for the environment,” said Carlos, “Many argued that an electric vehicle is bad because of all the chemicals it takes to make a battery, but in the end it would not pollute at all. We compared that with having a car that runs on gas and pollutes the environment every time. I think that was really helpful to learn.”

As a testament to the kids’ enthusiasm, Ron had to practically chase the boys out of class at the end of each period, which happened to be right before lunch. For the first time ever, rather than bolting for the door before the bell, students would stay up to 10 minutes into the lunch break – they were so engaged, they didn’t want to stop.

During a celebratory ride with one of his students at the end of the school year, Ron remembers looking over to see his satisfied, happy smile. When he asked what he was smiling about, the student responded, “I can’t believe I built this car.”