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California Schools Receive Tech Workforce Training Grant

Four Marin County school districts will split nearly $1 million to prepare students for careers in technology and other trades. The grant comes from a $10.8 million fund to support a statewide K-12 smart workforce program.

by Keri Brenner, The Marin Independent Journal / May 7, 2019

(TNS) — Four Marin school districts will split a $906,052 state workforce training grant to prepare students for careers in technology and innovation, applied sciences and technical trades.

The K12 Strong Workforce Program grant, to be applied for the 2019-20 school year, will allow the Novato Unified, San Rafael City Schools, Shoreline Unified and Tamalpais Union High School districts to enhance and expand their programs that offer specific training in biotechnology, culinary pursuits, computer games, architecture, agriculture, engineering, medical, physics and more.

Some programs will lead to a certificate in specific skill; others might give students a leg up on college preparation or credits. All are designed to help fulfill entrance qualifications — also known as the “A to G requirements” — for University of California or California State University.

“Our (career technical education) programs are college- and career-ready, same as with all our other programs,” said Jennifer Larson, director of instruction for Novato Unified School District. “Different programs offer employable skills, some offer certificates and some students will leave high school with a head start to college.”

Larson said the Marin County Office of Education, which is administering the grant, has not specified how the money will be distributed among the four districts. When the office does, however, NUSD plans to use most of it for three of the district’s eight career technical pathways: culinary training at Marin Oaks High School; medical careers at Novato High School; and biotechnology at San Marin High School.

At San Rafael City Schools, the money will go toward programs such as the physics academy at San Rafael High School and the “GAME Academy” at Terra Linda High School, said Mayra Perez, deputy district superintendent.

“We are thrilled that we are among the consortium members that will benefit from this grant to enhance and potentially expand our high-quality career technical education pathways at our high schools,” Perez said.

Tara Taupier, superintendent of the Tamalpais Union High School District, said its portion of the grant will go toward “engineering, computer science, architecture, sustainable agriculture, integrated humanities and new media” programs.

In addition, “some of the grant money will be used to ensure our CTE teachers have the appropriate credentials,” Taupier said.

At Shoreline Unified School District, the grant money will go toward “industrial arts, hopefully leading to a construction trades career path,” said Superintendent Bob Raines. “We already have a welding class, and we are working to add wood shop, metal shop, small engines and perhaps electrical shop.”

The Marin County award is part of more than $10.8 million in grants awarded for K12 Smart Workforce Programs statewide by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office division of workforce and economic development, according to an announcement last week.

“Of the 69 applications submitted in the Bay Area region, Marin County was one of 40 applicants granted a K-12 SWP award,” Mary Jane Burke, Marin County superintendent of schools, said in an email. “Marin County’s application was bolstered by the strong support of numerous industry partners and a deep and growing relationship between K-12, the College of Marin and the Marin County School to Career Partnership.”

©2019 The Marin Independent Journal (Novato, Calif.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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