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High schools work together to promote work-based learning opportunities

MONTEREY COUNTY, Calif. (KION) South Monterey County Schools are joining forces to advance work-based learning opportunities for high school students.

The new South Monterey County Work-Based Learning Collaborative is made possible with the collaboration of South County Career Technical Education (CTE) programs, Gonzales Unified School District, Soledad Unified School District, and South Monterey County Joint Union High School District.

"We just wanted to expand on those opportunities, because they're limited in South County because we're a rural area. So we want to make it a stronger offering for our students," said the South Monterey County Joint Union High School District CTE Coordinator Lilian De La Torre.

These schools currently have technical education classes. But as part of the new collaboration, students will have access to more programs offered by CTE. This includes classes in agriculture, hospitality, health sciences, and even medical technologies. The program will also connect students with industries by offering internships.

“A lot of our classes incorporate many trainings and certifications that they don't just leave with a high school diploma," said Soledad High School CTE Teacher Yolanda Hernadez. "They come out with multiple certifications to be able to be career-ready or job-ready.”

Jesus Pizano, a Soledad High School Senior participated in the Health Occupation pathway. It helped him decide to attend UC Davis this fall where he will study human development and pre-health, he said.

“It has opened the doors for me both academically, socially," said Pizano. "I think that it's a great pathway for everyone to take, just to get the general knowledge in the field. You're maybe even potentially interested in. It's like a great segue for different internships.”

According to De La Torre, in King City and Greenfield, more than 60% of the students who graduated from career technical courses in the previous year chose to continue their education. These students also develop leadership skills and receive better grades, she said. Educators hope this collaboration could be key to helping with the recovery of the local economy impacted by the pandemic.

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Jonathan Sarabia

Jonathan is a multi-media journalist at KION News Channel 5/46.

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