Quarterly Narrative Report
Imperial County UROG School to Work Grant
Prepared by: Deborah Harrold
School to Career Coordinator
(760) 336-2418 Voice (760) 336-2780 Fax
The Imperial Valley Education/Business Workforce Coalition is the oversight committee for the Urban/Rural Opportunities Grant. The committee meets on a monthly basis to hear and offer advise about the progress of the Urban/Rural Opportunities Grant.
The foundation of our School to Work program is our partners who continually offer support and encouragement for the program. Our employers recognize the benefits of our STW/STC collaboration.
The School to Career Coordinator holds the office of secretary of the Enterprise Community and is a member of Imperial County’s Southwest Border Pilot Community Response Team and holds the office of secretary and project chair of the Imperial County Overall Economic Development Commission. This enables School to Career to work with project partners to develop and provide continual support of educational and skill training programs throughout the Imperial Valley.
Our Career Guidance Specialist is based at the One-Stop Employment Center in Calexico. Since she also lives in Calexico, she is able to develop and strengthen employer relationships through community events. Partnering with these organizations is important to the success of our activities.
Since receiving a fair amount of newspaper coverage and more School to Career activities in the schools, we have seen a tremendous response to our efforts in implementing this program. Our support staff (site leaders) at each school site makes time to discuss projects and entertain ideas of how to better coordinate various events for all involved. Both school districts, the Calexico Unified School District and Heber School District offer support and encourage participation in all our activities.
The School to Career staff is very involved in community activities such as the Calexico Chamber of Commerce, El Centro Chamber of Commerce, Calexico Lion’s Club, Women’s Leadership Coalition, Overall Economic Development Commission and the Southwest Border Pilot Community Response Team and the Enterprise Community committee. Participating in the community organizations provides a network of support and communication that has been vital to the sustainability of this program.
School to Career organized the Heber School District career fair for November 14, 2001. Twenty-nine (29) employers participated for the event. Classroom presenters included Tami Devault-Kanine Kuts, Margie Lizarrga-School Secretary, Teresa Valenzuela, Government Agencies Federal Credit Union, Libby Peraza-Valley Independent Bank, Grace Escobar-Univision, Kelly Grant-Imperial Valley Press, Sue Nichols-San Diego State University, Ana Lilia Barraza-KUBO Station Manager, Tony Sanchez-Imperial County Office of Community Development, Sergio Cabanas-Covanta Geothermal, Thomas Gilkison-Early Academic Outreach/University of California San Diego, Luis Fuentes-Imperial Valley Economic Development Corporation, Marcela Piedra-Small Business Development Center, Lisa Granahan, City of El Centro, Steve Mellow-Video Production. Vehicles and staff also included Sheriff’s Department, U.S. Border Patrol helicopter, U.S. Border Patrol Canine Unit, Pacific Bell, Fire Department, Childer’s Machiney, Safety First, Torrence’s Farm Implements, KQVO Radio Station, Imperial County Office of Education Mobile Unit, Valley Iron and Metal and the California Highway Patrol. All children from K-8th grade benefited from this career fair. Directly following the career fair, Heber School District provided an informal luncheon for the employers. Many of the employers expressed to me that they enjoyed the informal lunch because it gave them time to talk with other employers and they felt it was important to do that in order to be part of the whole School to Career program.
School to Career participated in the October 23rd Brawley High School career fair in Brawley, CA. We talked with students about various occupations, had Vocational Biographies available for them to read, passed out information on the Employability Certificate and talked about job shadowing. Pictures of the Brawley High School career fair are in our “InfoLine” newsletter.
On October 17, 2001 two of our schools attended the Career Fair 2001 and Equipment Showcase at Imperial Valley College. This event was co-sponsored by Imperial Valley College, Imperial Valley Joint Chambers of Commerce, Imperial Valley Regional Occupational Program, Imperial County Workforce Investment Board, Imperial Irrigation District, Yosemite Waters and School to Career. In our first issue of “InfoLine” we published two pictures of our Mains Elementary students especially enjoyed touring the Mobile Career Development Van from Minnesota.
School to Career is organizing the Mains Elementary career fair for March 1st from 9:00 A.M. until 11:30 A.M. Mains Elementary will provide an employer luncheon following the event and present them with Certificates of Appreciation.
We are also working with the Career Fair committee at Calexico High School. Their career fair will be held on March 28, 2002.
Mains Power Lunches have been very successful. We scheduled lunches once a month for the 3rd grade classes. Some of the employers that have volunteered their lunch hours for this quarter are: Javier Gonzalez, Direction of Recreation for the City of Calexico, Martha Gomez from the City of Calexico Police Department, Hugo Loucel, Manager of the Calexico Ten Theaters, and Robert Harrold, Computer Network Administrator.
Heber School District Power Lunches meet once a month. Employers during this quarter have included: United States Border Patrol, Government Agencies Federal Credit Union and the Imperial County Fire Department. During the lunch with the Fire Department, they received a call regarding a brush fire and had to leave a few minutes early. The students heard the call on their radio and it gave them a better understanding of quick response for the firefighter’s duties.
Parent Institutes for Heber School District and Mains Elementary School will take place March 21nd from 5-8pm and April 18th from 4-7pm respectively. We will replicate the Heber Parent Institute for Mains PI. Parents will receive advance information as to the offered breakout sessions. They will be able to choose either Spanish or English for behavior management/parenting skills, drug awareness/prevention, technology training, , IVROP vocational training, math fun for parents, reading and vocabulary, and one-stop/job resource. Both schools are really looking forward to this event.
The Calexico High School Parent Institute will take place on May 13th. Aurora High School has not yet determined the date of their parent fair, but it is considering an April date. However, we have decided on conducting the Aurora High Parent Institute at the One Stop Employment Services office down the street from the high school. We plan on having representatives from the various partners of the One Stop and provide as much information as possible to help improve the quality of their lives.
School to Career staff organized five group job shadows for Heber School District. Forty-five (45) students will participate in this activity. Students will visit Western Auto, Pep Boys, the City of Calexico, the Fire Department, the Department of Recreation, KQVO-Radio, WalMart and Mains Elementary in Calexico. After completion of the job shadows, all five groups will have lunch in the park.
The School to Career (UROG) Coordinator worked with Judy Maurice, Assistant Superintendent at the Imperial County Office of Education and Kirk Lyster of Rutter Media to produce television commercials (state grant advertising funds) for Groundhog Job Shadow Day and the Employability Certificate. The focus and purpose of these commercials is to keep connected with employers in order to build (and sustain) the capacity of the STW/STC system.
One of our students at Calexico High School was hired by KQVO radio station as an administrative assistant. Karla is working after school as a part-time employee. Cecilia Maldonado, General Manager for KQVO is also interested in hiring another student to join their station. KQVO is also participating in the Groundhog Job Shadow Day on February 1, 2002. They will mentor 9 students and teach them about communications and broadcasting.
On November 9th, STC staff organized a trip to the Reuben Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park in San Diego. Approximately 94 students and chaperones participated in “hands-on” activities at the Science Center. In the IMAX Theater, students watched “Journey Into Amazing Caves” which they travel on a suspenseful expedition with a new breed of scientists who boldly journey into places once off-limits to human presence. One of the scientists in the film is an educator who took a sabbatical to participate in the experience and reports back to her students on a regular basis.
Junior Achievement has been made available to all three of the seventh (7th) grade classes at Heber School District. The curriculum chosen by the Superintendent was “The Economics of Staying in School.” We have met with all three teachers and have 3 employers that will begin in February. Marcela Piedra from the City of El Centro, Greg Kelly from U.S. Border Patrol and Sergio Cabanas from Covanta Geothermal will be our volunteer employers for Heber. All three teachers are excited about what Junior Achievement can bring to their students. The 4th grade classes at Mains will be served by our Calexico Fire Department. Chief Carlos Escalante is looking interested in participating as he wants to go into teaching when he retires. Ernie Avila will be taking Mr. Hector Teran’s 4th grade class and teaching the JA program, “Our Region.”
In our first issue of “InfoLine” we featured an article on JA employer training that took place on November 30th. Tara Michener, a JA facilitator from San Diego conducted the training session for employers.
Policies and Support:
Through regular meetings and/or communication with IVROP, CUSD and administration and staff at our schools, we are able to keep current with all regulations and policies.
Building the Capacity of The System:
On November 1st STC staff put together an employer event to educate them about the upcoming California High School Exit Exam. We called the event “Is That Your Final Answer?” One third of the event was spent playing the “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” game as it relates to the California High School Exit Exam. After the game, we had a student talk about his experience taking the practice test. Robert Moreno, Superintendent for Calexico Unified School District talked about the challenges ahead for the educational system and the community. Seventy-six (76) people attended this lunchtime event. Judging by the evaluations, everyone had a terrific time!
On November 13th, School to Career (UROG) organized a group of 48 educators and employers to attend the 6th Annual School to Career Conference at the Town and Country Hotel in San Diego. Dr. Williard Daggett, President of the International Center for Leadership in Education was the special speaker. We asked one of our employers, Kelly Grant of the Imperial Valley Press newspaper to write our lead story for our first issue of our STC newsletter, “InfoLine.”
One-Stop Center: Our career guidance specialist, Lupita Rodriguez is working in conjunction with the Calexico One Stop Center so they can conduct workshops for Calexico High School students. The workshops will consist of completing job applications, developing resumes and portfolios, mock job interviews, and business etiquette.
We attend various chamber mixers and meetings that will help further our agenda of educating the public about School to Career activities for our community. On September 26th we attended the Joint Chamber mixer at the Barbara Worth Country Club, on October 23rd, we attended the Imperial chamber mixer, and weekly we attend meetings with the Executive Director of the Calexico Chamber.
On November 6th and 7th STC staff attended the California Association of Regional Occupational Centers and Program in Rancho Mirage, California. Great information and communication was exchanged at this conference and the networking has provided potential opportunities for Imperial Valley to work with Coachella Valley on ROP projects.
On December 6th School to Career staff attended an IVROP Faith Based Community Service Meeting. The purpose of this meeting was to inform faith based organizations as to community services that are available to assist their church members. The following agencies participated: CalWORKs, Center for Family Solutions, Child Development Services, EDD, Housing Authority, ICOET, Impact Community Network, Imperial County Probation, Imperial Valley College, IVROP, Neighborhood House, Sure Help Line and the Workforce Investment Board.
The IVROP School to Career staff has undertaken the duties of publishing the STC newsletter “InfoLine” in conjunction with the Imperial County Office of Education.
The countywide financial support for school to Career in the form of a state grant ended as of September 30, 2001, although the federal Urban/Rural Opportunities Grant (UROG) continues for Calexico and Heber and is administered through the Imperial Valley Regional Occupational Program. However, many of the UROG activities benefit employers, community members and educators throughout Imperial Valley.
ICOE & IVROP has a strong commitment to sustaining the important work begun by the School to Career grant. They will maintain communication with the large School to Career Coalition to invite them to relevant activities. In addition, members of the Coalition will be encouraged to participate in special activities such as job shadowing, the speakers’ bureau, interviews to award employability certificates and other school events.
Together the members of the Steering Committee are pooling people and financial resources to continue the Employability Certificate and the national Groundhog Job Shadow event.
The Imperial County Office of Education, Imperial Valley Regional Occupational Program and the Imperial Valley Business/Education Coalition continue to build on existing programs and services in the community, leveraging public and private funds, staff, equipment and other resources from all of their key partners to support School to Career.