Workplace learning is a tool used by businesses to staff and maintain effectiveness. Current research indicates that the workplace might be one of the best places to learn about successful employment. Employees or potential employees respond positively to opportunities designed to acquire new skills to obtain additional work skills that lead to employment. This month’s article discusses the current partnerships that the San Luis Obispo County Office of Education promotes between our schools, SLO Partners, and local business leaders. These partnerships are an effort to grow a local skilled workforce that wants to remain in San Luis Obispo County. The County Office of Education launched another phase of the Career and Technical Education (CTE) or local workforce development with SLO Partners, local business leaders, and local chambers of commerce during the spring of 2023.
The three-day 2023 Summer Jumpstart program prepared high school graduates to learn career readiness, workplace communication, and customer service skills. Each participant was paid $300 for completing the program, received a service training certificate recognized by local business leaders, and was assisted in securing local employment. Sessions were held in South County, San Luis Obispo, and North County, with 25 participants in each cohort. Program directors Jennifer Clayton and Paul Piette facilitated preparing 75 young people for employment in San Luis Obispo County. Jasmine, a local Paso Robles participant in the program, expressed gratitude for the support, mentorship, and multiple opportunities to interview with local employers, resulting in employment opportunities.
Throughout the summer sessions, participants received an assessment, training, certification, interview training, and placement in several San Luis Obispo County business sectors. The San Luis Obispo County Office of Education funded the cost of the classes, and the CTE Foundation provided each participant stipend. Business leaders provided access to staff to teach participants the skills required to succeed in local businesses. After the summer sessions, participants were invited to enter other apprenticeship programs with employment opportunities in San Luis Obispo County.
The SLO Partners’ mission is to engage business partners and education in aligning workforce needs with career and college pathways. This alignment helps to provide work experience opportunities to ensure that students have the skills and knowledge necessary for success in the workplace and that businesses have skilled workers required for a growing economy. SLO Partners is committed to collaborating with local businesses and education for pathways and opportunities serving local talent. Collaborative training presents a prime opportunity to expand the knowledge base of potential employees without significant expenses. When collaboration occurs, employees can maximize time while attending training sessions. Partnerships such as the Pre-Apprenticeship and Apprenticeship programs invest in professional development as a positive endeavor. When education and business join forces to provide a structured training and development program, the workforce receives consistent experience and background knowledge preparation.
CTE creates value within our local economy so students and future employees gain access to training, feel appreciated, and are more likely to remain productive members of the local economy. I am proud to be part of today’s cutting-edge, rigorous, and relevant CTE programs that prepare our youth and adults for a broad range of high-wage, high-skill, and high-demand jobs. It is an honor to serve as your County Superintendent of Schools.
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