As we move into the final quarter of the school year, we are seeing great momentum in a countywide effort to connect more San Joaquin County high school students to careers.

Some of you may be familiar with our work at San Joaquin A+, but if you are not here is some background: We are a non-profit that envisions a future where all young people can do what they love, earn what they need, in the location they want to live. We work to help San Joaquin County create a system of great schools, and one area of particular focus for us is providing students with learning experiences that connect them to career opportunities while in high school. 

Centered on internships, this new initiative will expose high-school students to regional industries, high-demand jobs, develop their professional skills, provide coaching and mentorship, and offer support to make sure they have meaningful learning experiences. 

Our ultimate goal is to establish a thriving community where high school youth are inspired and empowered by supportive coaches, educators, and employers to drive long-term economic growth in our region.

 A few of the things we’ve done this year to make progress toward this long-term goal include: 

  • Launched the Growing Futures Initiative: This past summer, we launched our internship pilot titled growing futures, which connected a group of students from Valley Robotics Academy with internships in the agriculture and viticulture industries. 
  • Built a Career Connected Learning Team: Earlier this school year, we grew our staff to better support career connected learning at the student, school, and employer level throughout the school year. I personally joined San Joaquin A+ as the Senior Director of Career Connected Learning to support this work.
  • Released the ‘Better Together’ Report: In January, San Joaquin A+ shared a report called – BETTER TOGETHER: San Joaquin County Employers Are Willing and Ready to Work with Schools to Prepare Students for Careers, which kicked off a flurry of engagement and partnerships between schools and employers.

Since January we’ve been hard at work rolling up our sleeves with employers, schools, and students to start to directly connect them to learning opportunities that prepare them for our second year of internship opportunities this summer. 

We are working with schools to make sure students are prepared to succeed in our expanded range of internship opportunities – inclusive of resume workshops, job shadow tours, and lunch & learn speaker series to provide students with more information about potential internship types and employers.

With employers, we recently hosted an ‘Agriculture and Education Mixer’ last month at Acquiesce Winery that brought ag., wine, & education partners together to discuss career connected learning (CCL) work and how to expand opportunities to participate this summer. We are actively bringing on new partners, inclusive of those we worked with last summer such as Acquiesce Winery, Lodi Crush, Holt of California, Pacific Home & Health Care and Lodi Winegrape Commission along with newly identified partners such as Constellation Brand, Markus Winery, World of Wonders Science Museum, Children’s Museum of Stockton, Jeremy Wine Co, and Nzinga Incorporated (in new industries like the health care, nonprofit and business sectors).

We share all this to show the great progress and momentum our school and employer partners have helped achieve for our students, and to invite you to join us in this work. 

If you are an employer or school partner interested in learning more about how to help or signing up to participate in placing nearly 50 San Joaquin County Students in internships this summer, visit here for more information – http://sjaplus.org/internships/  – or please contact us directly here shayla@sjaplus.org.

If we work together, we can prepare our youth to succeed when they leave our schools, and create a brighter future for our region as we do it.