On Thursday, Sept. 19, more than 250 high school students from across San Diego County visited dozens of booths of apprenticeships and training programs, and learned about career opportunities in engineering, manufacturing, and construction. They were attending the Second Annual Vocational Training and Apprenticeship Programs Career Expo, put on by the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) in collaboration with Assemblymember Shirley Weber's office and San Diego Continuing Education.
"There are many apprenticeship and training programs in San Diego County, and this expo is a chance to educate young adults interested in these career pathways about the variety of resources and opportunities available," said Ernesto Rivera, SDCOE's project specialist for work-based learning. "This year, because of the increased interest in apprenticeship programs and the opportunity they provide for middle- to high-paying jobs, we were able to partner with more programs, growing from 28 to 39 participating agencies, and even added training programs in information technology; cosmetology and barbershop; and green/clean energy."
For SDCOE, career technical education is not just an issue of college and career readiness, but also of equity. "All students should understand their career options, however, we often see students are most interested in the careers they have been exposed to," said County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Gothold. "This means that we have a responsibility to provide all students with career exposure, exploration, and preparation in schools and in the community."
Many engineering, manufacturing, and construction jobs are expected to be high-growth, high-wage, and in-demand according to the San Diego Workforce Partnership's 2019 Priority Jobs report. Bringing together industry experts and high school students will help better prepare students for a pathway to these careers.