Access to a quality education is the best way to ensure our students a bright, successful future. But one size does not fit all, and not every student wants to go to a traditional college. Even so, California schools often focus on sending kids to colleges and universities, with less emphasis on trades.
We have a skilled worker shortage in California, and we need to make sure that high school students have the opportunity to learn technical skills that can lead to well-paying jobs after they graduate. That’s why Career Technical Education is so important.
To help meet this need, last session I was an author of AB 1111, which will help ensure students have access to quality technical courses that provide the training to work for companies requiring highly-skilled workers and $15 million in the budget to pay for it. And last month, I was pleased to recognize Dennis Johnson, a Fallbrook High School transportation technology teacher, who received the second-place Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence. We need more programs like Fallbrook High’s skilled trades program, and more teachers to give young people the opportunity to learn skills that lead to good-paying careers in the trades. The award is a testament to Mr. Johnson’s dedication and his skill in creating innovative programs that prepare students for their future automotive careers. The $50,000 prize will be split between Mr. Johnson, who receives $15,000, and Fallbrook High School’s skilled trades program, which gets $35,000.
With almost 20% of California’s population living below the poverty level, we should do all we can to expand the pool of skilled, well-paid workers. And thank you to Harbor Freight Tools for recognizing the importance of Career Tech Education.