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September 1, 2022

The Adopt a School program is a partnership between local schools and community stakeholders to provide students with an opportunity to learn about potential career paths. Through the program, the San Diego Workforce Partnership and San Diego City College partnered with San Diego Unified School District to introduced sixth graders at Millennial Tech Middle School to the world of work.  

Over four weeks, students participated in workshops that included the RIASEC framework, San Diego’s priority sectors and priority jobs. The RIASEC framework uses six themes to describe people’s interests and match them with careers. The priority sectors and priority jobs are identified based on extensive labor market data and indicate quality jobs and growth opportunities. These are important topics to share with students so they can make informed career decisions and are equipped with related language. The workshops also included information about a variety of post-secondary training pathways, including apprenticeships, professional certificates, and two- and four-year degree programs. 

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Sasha Knox, associate dean of Strong Workforce at San Diego City College, was a key collaborator in this program’s creation. Sasha shared a bit about the goal of the program and the importance of workforce development in early education.  

The heart of this project is ensuring that students from minoritized communities have access and awareness to career pathways, priority sectors and the world of work. We know that communities of color, particularly Black and Brown communities, remain disproportionately disconnected to opportunities, higher wage jobs and much more. Through career education, mentorship and pathway development, we aim to create awareness, bridge connections, and inform students and parents about interests/values and employment opportunities. 

As part of the program, we are partnering with organizations like the San Diego Black Workers Center and the Black & Latino Chambers to get mentors of color from various organizations. It’s important that our students know individuals who look like them and come from similar backgrounds thriving in organizations. In addition to mentorship, businesses also have the opportunity to provide industry exposure via sight field trips with the students. This is another opportunity to connect the dots for students so they see themselves in diverse organizations. 

At the end of the program, the teachers that we worked with saw value in embedding career education to their everyday lessons. Quickly, our history teacher was talking about historians, librarians, politicizations and how individuals who were inquisitive would enjoy this field of work. If we implement anything, it would be the inclusion of utilizing career education in every lesson. From the lens of a woman of color, it’s important that people remind our kids daily that they are valuable, they can be anything and consistently show them the possibilities of what that truly means. 

The students make this program worth it! It was amazing for them to connect the dots on how Legos and being creative would make them a future engineer or working in the construction trades.  

Interested in learning more about the Adopt a School program? Contact Sasha Knox at sknox@sdccd.edu.  

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