How you know you're doing something right: Businesses show up at your CTE (Career Technical Education) Showcase, like what they see, and suggest partnerships that benefit students, local employers and the region's economy.
That's what happened at Jurupa Unified's CTE Showcase on Thursday, Nov. 21 at the district office on Pedley Road. The showcase featured student presentations, hands-on demonstrations, and interactive activities to highlight JUSD's 22 career pathways.
The free event, open to the public, was part of a broader High School Showcase designed to connect students with programs at every high school in Jurupa Valley.
“This was our best-attended showcase ever," said Roberta Pace, Director of College and Career Readiness for JUSD. At the event, students shared lessons from classes that blend academic teaching with job training to build a range of real-world skills.
Ms. Pace cited two highlights: the CTE students, who excelled in sharing their knowledge, and feedback from visitors, who praised the quality and variety of CTE programs at JUSD.
Among those impressed: Representatives of a manufacturing company with facilities in Ontario and Corona. They dropped by, looked around, and proposed exploring ways they might support JUSD CTE through field trips, job shadowing and internships for students.
“Creating partnerships that will help our students to succeed in the work world is a plus for all involved," said Jenna Saugstad, principal of Nueva Vista High, which offers a career pathway in logistics and distribution. “We look forward to exploring ways that we can all work together to develop opportunities for JUSD students."
The showcase inspired middle-school students, as well.
“The video production and film presentations were terrific," said Valerie, an eighth-grader at Jurupa Middle School. “I want to be a playwright and performer. I spoke to (Rubidoux High School video production teacher) Mr. Ryan Bailey and learned what is offered in high school to lead me on my career path."
Said Bennett, an eighth-grader at Encore Academy in Riverside, “I enjoyed the law enforcement showcase. I am considering a career in that field."
Valerie added: “I enjoyed all of the hands-on activities that we could interact with. I also really liked learning from other students who are currently taking the classes and were presenters tonight."
Parents, too, appreciated the comprehensive information – and the opportunity for one-stop shopping to compare, contrast and explore.
Said Lisa, whose daughter is weighing what each school offers: “The student presenters are so passionate and knowledgeable about their pathway. This is phenomenal. It is exciting watching each school showcase its own personality."
A few highlights from the student presentations:
The student presenters – 47 in all – did a fantastic job, JUSD teachers said.
“Tonight our students went from learners to professionals," Mr. Bailey said at the showcase. “Their hard work is on display for all to see."
Richard Leach, who teaches automotive technology at JVHS, said, “I am impressed by how well the student presenters represent the program. They display leadership, communicate effectively with the public, and engage the younger generation in hands-on CTE programs."
Of visitors to the showcase, he added, “Wonderful people showed up full of questions. Many were surprised by what we offer. Some asked, 'We have wood shop?!' Our response is always, 'Nope! We offer construction courses where students learn framing, wood work, concrete, roofing, electrical and plumbing.' They are pleasantly surprised."
Added Ms. Pace: “JUSD has really made a commitment to CTE for our students. It is rare for a district of our size to offer as many different pathways as we do – but that was strategic. We wanted students, regardless of their interests and plans, to find a quality CTE program somewhere in the district that is a good fit for them."
In all, the showcase offered information on career pathways in all 11 of Jurupa Unified's CTE industry sectors:
Kimberly, a parent who graduated from JVHS in 2001, said: “Jurupa Valley High School didn't offer these programs when I went there almost 20 years ago. … I love how you can now take classes that may inspire you into a career pathway. Career Technical Education classes truly allow students to learn without limits."
Another parent, Matthew, said his daughter is interested in veterinary medicine, his son wants to be an engineer, and his youngest loves paleontology. Thanks to the range of CTE programs at JUSD, he said, “They can pursue their dreams."