Producing career ready students

  • By: Doug Betts, Business/Education Committee Chairman

After finishing up last month’s column, I thought it would be a good idea to continue talking about some of the other local organizations that I believe to be “enhancing the economic…well-being of Fresno County Residents”.  The members of our committee are big believers in the missions of the three organizations I’ll be telling you about today and truly support the work they do in our community.

I’ll start with a grant funded entity of State Center Community College District, State Center Consortium (www.statecenter.com), which is a partnership that connects school districts, colleges, and businesses to advance Career Technical Education.  The Consortium provides educator training and a line of communication to facilitate collaboration for schools including K-12, colleges and universities.  At the State Center Consortium, the emphasis is on Career Technical Education (CTE) which is becoming increasingly essential as school systems expand their offerings for a wide variety of career pathways in the fields of medicine, public administration, law enforcement, business and more.  This educational style is meant to prepare students with practical education and experience in their chosen career fields, utilizing an approach that gives students motivation to master basic academic skills by demonstrating their practical applications.  Unfortunately, despite its value, the current economic times have taken their toll on the State Center Consortium and its future now sits in a precarious position.

Another organization worthy of note is the Adult Education Taskforce (www.adulteducationtaskforce.org), which is a collaboration of adult education institutions in theCentralSan JoaquinValley area.  The goal of this Taskforce is to ensure adults are informed of the various educational opportunities available in our area. We believe that helping these individuals find a pathway to increase their earning power and enhance their economic well-being can have a tremendous effect on our economy.  While the organizations involved may appear to have the same goals which would lead them to compete, they have had the foresight to note the benefits of working together to reach a larger population than their individual efforts could achieve. In future months, you should be hearing of their combined work with Mayor Swearengin on her initiative to give a boost to our unemployed and underemployed adults.

The last organization I’d like to highlight is Fresno Unified School District Superintendent’s Commission on Workforce Readiness and Career Technical Education.  This group is comprised of a wide range of stakeholders from our community who continue to press for further developments in preparing our students for successful careers.  Our FUSD high schools offer a wider variety of career pathways in the following fields: Ag, Energy, Environment, Arts, Design & Motion, Banking, Business, IRS, Law & Social Justice, Marketing, MicroSociety, College Prep, Healthcare, Medical Education and Research, Architecture, Construction, Engineering, Electronics, Transportation, Education & Child Development, and Public & Human Services.  To find out more about these pathways see www.FUSDCareerReady.org.

Because we understand the value of the efforts of these dedicated entities, the members of our Fresno Chamber Business / Education Committee meet monthly to help advance their efforts and those who share their goal.  Without a doubt, our city needs more businesses engaged in this effort to produce career ready graduates and educate adults who are unemployed or working toward higher levels of success.

If you are interested in learning more about these opportunities or making contacts to get involved, I welcome you to contact me through the Chamber office.  I am always delighted to help you get involved!

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