By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– Dale Marsden oversees one of the largest urban school districts in the United States, with 50,000 students – 90 percent of whom live in poverty. Breaking that cycle is why he and his team at the San Bernardino City Unified School District have launched one of the most aggressive career readiness programs in the county, with 51 pathways at schools throughout the district.
“This is the ticket for our kids. They’re highly motivated and know they have a real opportunity for a real life,” Marsden, the district superintendent, told more than 60 local leaders from business, government, economic development and workforce development on Wednesday during a tour of career pathway programs at three SBCUSD schools.
The tour was organized by the district and the San Bernardino County Workforce Development Board, which has launched the GenerationGo! Career Pathways initiative to support and enhance programs such as SBCUSD’s while helping to meet the employment needs of the region’s growing businesses.
GenerationGo! was piloted last year at Cajon High School in San Bernardino, with students completing 120 hours of clinical practice at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center. The program has expanded this year, providing students access to a wide variety of work-based learning opportunities. Scaled up to all 33 school districts in the county, GenerationGo! could serve thousands of students each year.
“This is extremely important to the entire region,” WDB Chairman Tony Myrell said while touring a medical pathway classroom at Curtis Middle School. “To see the work that’s happening here, and knowing the talent shortage that exists in the health care field, is incredibly exciting. People ask all the time, ‘how do we fill the workplace void.’ This is how we do it.”
Getting businesses to actively participate in career-readiness programs is key to their success. To that end, Myrell and several WDB members offered to donate equipment, materials and personnel to the pathways they toured.