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South Monterey County

Work-Based Learning Collaborative

In the next four months, 25 Greenfield and King City high school students in the Mee Memorial Healthcare System Student Volunteer Program will learn about Blood Pathogens, First Aid, PPE, First Aid, CPR, and Infant CPR.
In December, they’ll discuss interviewing and customize their resumes, through the user-friendly, easy-to-access Resume Builder platform on Monterey Bay Career Coach. (Sign up for free to use the resume builder.) Later that month, the newly certified students will start their volunteer hours at Mee Memorial Healthcare System in King City and Greenfield. 

The pilot program, which held its first meeting on Sept. 4 at the King City Library, is a prelude to a new Healthcare Pathway that will launch at King City and Greenfield high schools in the 2022-23 school year.

Lilian De La Torre, CTE Coordinator for the South Monterey County Joint Union High School District, says the healthcare volunteer program and the upcoming two-year pathway program will train future healthcare workers in South County and enhance work-based learning opportunities for high school students while promoting workforce development in the region.

It’s part of a broader effort to strengthen work-based learning opportunities in South Monterey County, led by the formation of a South County Work-Based Learning Collaborative last spring. That coalition aims to increase work-based learning for CTE students in the four South County high schools, promote workforce development in the region by enlisting industry and professionals, and train the future South County workforce in various CTE pathways so that they can be college and career-ready. (See KION’s video about the launch)

More than 20 career technical education (CTE) teachers from Gonzales, Soledad, Greenfield and King City high schools met online in May for a first-of-its-kind brainstorming session, offering suggestions to increase work-based learning opportunities and to address the rural challenges and equity outcomes of students.

One outcome is a campaign that launches this week, seeking to build partnerships with south Monterey County healthcare practitioners and healthcare organizations. Recognizing that Monterey County employers are key to building and supporting the local employee pipeline and in developing a highly skilled workforce, the Employer Pledge campaign asks local employers to commit to providing a range of real-world learning opportunities — from workplace tours, mock interviews and job shadowing to student internships, guest speakers and career mentoring  —  so as to support the next generation of regional, workplace-ready employees.

Among those targeted by the campaign are city governments, Hartnell College, community organizations, hospital and local clinics, and the local agriculture industry.

“I am pleased that through collaborative efforts with Mee Memorial Healthcare System, we can offer the healthcare volunteer program to our students,” said Jordan Mulder, Interim Superintendent/Director Special Education for South Monterey County Joint Unified High School District. “The popularity of the program warrants planning for expansion of the program and the creation of a new healthcare pathway. The healthcare volunteer program opens doors for our students to gain practical healthcare experience and explore careers in the medical field. I sincerely appreciate all those who help make this program a success.”

More than 3,000 students are enrolled in CTE pathways at the four high schools within the Gonzales Unified School District, Soledad Unified School District, and South Monterey County Joint Union High School District. Existing pathways include Agriculture and Natural Resources, Health Science & Medical Technology, Building and Construction Trades, Education, and Engineering, but they vary by district. Regional collaboration could boost the opportunities offered, particularly in important industry sectors such as healthcare and Information and Communication Technologies, help each CTE program learn and build upon each other’s frameworks, and allow them to collaborate on industry tours, guest speakers and career fairs.

“We’re very confident that we’re going to be able to take this to the next level, and that’s going to help students,” says De La Torre. “We’re really excited about the things that are happening here in South County.”

 Pictured, students from Greenfield and King City high schools attend the Mee Memorial Healthcare System Student Volunteer Program on Sept. 4 at the King City Library. Photo courtesy of South Monterey County Joint Union High School District.