OPINION – As the economy begins to recover and money flows back into businesses; our government is noticing another problem to solve. There aren’t enough skilled workers to fill the positions of jobs with evolving principles. Changing technology requires a change in career technical education (CTE) options.

Recognizing this dilemma of a growing skills gap, California Senate leader Darrell Steinberg announced the release of $250 million throughout the state to provide innovative career education programs and partnerships.

He told reporters last week, “This model of learning helps bring curriculum to life, by making education more relevant to college and careers.”

The goal is to bring businesses to schools and inform them of what type of skills they are looking for in new employees. Then schools would develop curriculum based on those skills as supplement to their general education.
(Green Tech), a community-based non-profit organization currently partners with local small businesses, corporations, manufacturing companies, utility companies and construction companies to acclimate its students to real-life working environments. We provide classroom workshops to give students instruction on the emerging terminology such as renewable energy, carbon footprint, LEED Certification, aquaponics, biotechnology, greenhouse gas emissions and much more. We then take our students to companies like FMC Technologies, Woodland Biomass Power, Jadoo Hydrogen Fuel Cell Power company, Turner Construction Company, UC Davis Energy Efficiency Center, the Hackers Lab and many other companies and government agencies that are currently experiencing a rise in resources and need for skilled employees.

In addition, Green Tech offers hands-on technical projects to give youth real life experience in building and solving problems, skills sorely needed in today’s workforce. Green Tech recognizes these technical education skills are merely supplemental to students needs for academic rigor and basic soft skills. We indeed, continue to provide resume writing assistance, mock interviews and lessons on professional conduct in the working world.

California’s $250 million investment in CTE is titled The Career Pathways Trust. It provides competitive grants for these innovative and emerging programs and partnerships linking academic standards to career pathways in high-need and high-growth sectors of the economy. Green Tech’s focus is on manufacturing, transportation, utilities, construction and environmental management.

Senator Steinberg along with Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and California Community Colleges chief Brice Harris all believe students will be more engaged and less likely to drop out of school while gaining better preparation for the highly complex and competitive working world of the 21st Century. This mantra is also Green Tech’s mission. Our goal is to develop a new working class citizen, reduce the drop-out rate and the academic achievement gap, return formerly incarcerated youth into the workforce, and develop skills sets for foster youth and veterans to improve economic conditions in all communities. The California Career Pathways Trust is hope for better outcomes, higher employment and resources dedicated toward building a better economy based on jobs, entrepreneurship and innovative vocational skill building.