Lompoc’s first Pathways to Preparedness Summit was held this past Wednesday at the Dick DeWees Community Center. A year in the making, the Economic Development Committee (EDC) partnered with Hancock College, Lompoc Unified School District, the County of Santa Barbara and the Lompoc Chamber of Commerce to host the summit.

EDC Chairperson Maria Hall welcomed the group of more than 70 business owners, leaders in education, and community members interested in workforce development. She outlined the EDC’s mission and its four priorities for 2017/2018: Broadband connectivity, marketing, workforce and aesthetics. The Workforce subcommittee’s goal is to support local education initiatives and partnerships that enhance development of a highly skilled and qualified workforce. The summit was a result of this goal.

Brian Jaramillo, was the next speaker. He is the director of Pupil Support Services for the Lompoc Unified School District (LUSD).

Jaramillo outlined the district’s Career Technical Education (CTE) program, formerly known as ROP. CTE currently has nine industry sectors: Agriculture and natural resources, arts media and entertainment, manufacturing and product development, engineering and architecture, finance and business, health science and medical technology, information technology, and public services, and transportation.

These sectors are represented by various “pathways” at Lompoc and Cabrillo high schools. Approximately 400 students at each high school participate in CTE. Some of the courses are offered through concurrent enrollment with Allan Hancock College.

Margaret Lau, the dean of academic affairs at Hancock College, was the next speaker. She spoke about the “College Now” program in which high school students can earn college credits by attending AHC classes.

Next, the group watched a testimonial video, created by Jessica Sheaff of AHC’s Public Affairs department. The video highlighted the ways in which AHC partners with local businesses to provide internships to local students.

Rienk Ayers, general manager of Chameleon Engineering, was shown explaining how students get hands-on experience. AHC engineering students Ricardo Chavez and Esteban Carrillo spoke about the skills they gained with their summer internship at Chameleon. AHC graduate Kevin Daily, who is now a full-time mechanical engineer at Chameleon, spoke first-hand about what he learned through his internship. Jennifer Scouten, who has worked for thirteen years for the City of Lompoc’s Public Works department, praised her internship experience.

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Gilda Cordova, president of Legend Hospitality, provides internships for high school and college students. Ninety percent of her team at Holiday Inn Express in Lompoc is currently enrolled at AHC. Nohemy Ornelas, vice president of student services at AHC, stressed the importance of collaboration between schools and employers, and also the added benefit of local students graduating and being able to stay and work in their community.

Following the video, a working session was facilitated by Emily Smith, project director of K-12 partnerships, CWE, and career development at AHC; and JaNae Burger, CTE program specialist with LUSD.

They explained terminology such as job shadowing, summer academies, CTSOs, cooperative work experience (CWE), concurrent enrollment, and Articulation. They walked the group through an example pathway in accounting from high school to transferring to a four-year program at a university. This outlined the courses and outside-the-classroom education which would be taken in high school and AHC.

To stay updated on the EDC’s progress throughout the year, like the “Lompoc Economic Development Committee” page on Facebook. Also, the EDC’s meeting agendas and minutes can be found on the City of Lompoc’s website.

Building the Future Today is a column by the Lompoc Economic Development Committee. The column runs on the first and third Sundays of each month. To contact the committee, email lompocedc@gmail.com.

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