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Businesses highlight local opportunities

Posted: November 25, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: November 25, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Voldi Way, left, tyrannical overlord of WayForward Technologies, meets with educators during an all-day Educators to Industry seminar in Valencia on Friday.

What local educators did not expect to find when they visited several businesses for the Educators In Industry forum this month was the local jobs and career opportunities for students.

“I was blown away. It was very eye-opening to see what’s available in the Santa Clarita Valley as far as careers and career fields that our students can get involved in,” said Jason d’Autremont, assistant principal at Canyon High School.

A collaborative program among the William S. Hart Union High School District, College of the Canyons and local businesses, the forum was designed to allow teachers to take back to the classroom information they learned during a visit to various local workplaces.

Visiting employers Quest Diagnostics and Aerospace Dynamics International, d’Autremont said he was impressed with the firms’ employee training and retention programs.

More than 90 percent of the people trained in a joint program between ADI and College of the Canyons stay with the company for their entire careers, he said.

News that technical careers and training exist in SCV was good to hear, d’Autremont said. With the rising cost of a college education, as well as class cuts at state colleges, it’s good to know there are other avenues for students.

Having just launched four new career pathways at Canyon High School — automotive technology, culinary arts, media and design arts, and health sciences — d’Autremont said he was pleased to know that the school’s plans complement local career options for students.

Arroyo Seco Junior High’s Gail Mahoney, who teaches seventh grade life science, was surprised to learn National Technical Systems in Santa Clarita tests rocket materials on site.

“There are jobs out there in engineering and the medical field,” Mahoney said. “In rocket testing, they use algebra every single day. The kids need to understand why they are learning it.”

What also impressed Mahoney, she said, is the fact that some employers help their staff advance professionally. Some employers even help pay for college, she said.

National Technical Systems had employees who began with only a high school degree, she said. Those employees took classes and worked their way up into technician positions, gaining steady work.

Visiting local employer AMS Fulfillment, English teacher Matt Hinze of Saugus High School was surprised to learn companies had so many job openings.

“AMS has been eager to hire and has been hiring for a couple years,” Hinze said. “Kids that are not going into college do have opportunities.”




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