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November 9, 2015

Principals and career counselors from middle schools and high schools throughout San Diego Unified School District gathered on Friday, November 6 to attend “Unlocking the Genius,” a day-long training event focused on career assessment and pathways.

San Diego Workforce Partnership staff presented research on the five regional Priority Sectors—Advanced Manufacturing, Clean Energy, Health Care, Information and Communication Technologies, and Life Sciences. The presentations focused on answering the following questions:

  • What are the sectors and why are they important?
  • How would one get a job in these sectors?
  • What are examples of some jobs, how much do they pay, and what are the typical educational requirements?

An apprenticeship panel highlighted additional career opportunities often overlooked. Representatives from electrician, sheet metal worker and carpenter apprenticeship programs spoke about their personal experience and what students can expect from an apprenticeship. They also encouraged the career counselors in the room to talk with students about the trades and apprenticeship as a viable career pathway.

Both the apprenticeship panel and SDWP emphasized the same message—students entering the workforce need:

  • Soft skills
  • Relevant work skills
  • Industry-recognized certifications

Cheryl Hibbeln, Executive Director of the Office of Secondary Schools, who hosted the event, reminded the attendees that the information provided that day was meant to educate them on the wide breadth of job opportunities in the region. Traditionally, students are provided substantial academic coaching but not necessarily career coaching. The event’s purpose was to shift towards career coaching and provide the counselors with what they need to accomplish this. 

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