VACAVILLE — Where, asked Arthur Schwartz, did I learn the skills to go out and find a job?
The senior vice president and chief human resource officer for Travis Credit Union told members of the Countywide Career Technical Advisory Committee that he doesn’t recall precisely but knows the need for such skills among job seekers.
“I can give you a lot of horror stories,” he said.
Speaking at the annual meeting of the advisory committee, which took place Dec. 12 at Will C. Wood High School in Vacaville, Schwartz spoke about applicants texting messages during job interviews. Or they may be late for such interviews. Hired, some new employees miss the first day of work or are late, he said.
Career technical training of students in Solano County includes instruction in such skills.
“They soak it up like sponges,” Schwartz said.
He praised the training for providing needed services.
“I’m honored to be part of such a wonderful program,” Schwartz said.
The Career Technical Education program of the Solano County Office of Education works with industry leaders to improve curriculum as well as learn of current trends and changing technologies.
Jay Speck, Solano County superintendent of schools, told people gathered for the annual meeting that the purpose of career technical education is to prepare students for college and careers.
Mark Frazier, chief academic officer for the Vacaville School District, agrees.
“To be ready for a vocation is to be ready for college,” he said.
Employers, he said, are looking for workers with foundational skills that technical education stresses. Technical aspects of jobs can be taught but the basics of language and math skills remain important, he said.
Technical education can also include post-high school study.
Dave George, a career technical education instructor at Armijo High School, said before the meeting that Solano County has kept career technical education in the forefront.
“We’ve got some really sharp people who believe in what we’re doing,” George said.
He said technical education prepares students for the workplace as well as post-high school academics. The welding classes he teaches involve a skill employers seek, he said. Entry level jobs pay more than $18 an hour.
Johana Clevrain, a senior at Armijo High School, spoke about skills she learned – including how to conduct yourself during job interviews.
“I didn’t think it would be fun,” she said, but the instruction was compelling and valuable. “I learned a lot,” Clevrain said.
“I really benefited,” she said, adding she appreciates the program for students.
A video from the Solano County Office of Education about technical education emphasized its value.
“Educated employees,” the county office said, “equal more productive employees.”
Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or [email protected]