Our entire community benefits when adults work together on behalf of students to build and broaden opportunities, expand access to the real-world and provide training to students about the wide breadth of professions they might consider.
The Mt. Diablo Unified School District (MDUSD) Business Education Alliance is striving to do just that. Businesses throughout Contra Costa County are partnering with the district to engage and connect with students, offer opportunities for internships and support students as they progress through the many educational programs at all of our high schools – with specific focus on expanding the success of our Career Technical Education (CTE) programs.
CTE programs provide tremendous benefits to district students through earning advantages before and after graduation. Extensive research points to CTE experiences as an essential element in motivating students to become immersed in their own learning by engaging them in problem-solving activities that construct knowledge and by offering hands-on activities that enable them to apply knowledge in real-world applications.
A significant part of the process is bringing students and adults from our business community together, with local educators, in a setting of collaborative learning that provides opportunities for students to interact with adults and increases real-life experiences to potential employers. The educators who coordinate and support the programs share an affinity for similar career and vocational interests.
MDUSD students report that these real-life experiences often are the motivating factors in helping them plan their next educational steps, identify particular areas of a profession they want to explore more or even to decide to begin teaching others about the knowledge and skills they are acquiring.
The district is grateful for the partnerships we have developed and asks interested parties to connect with Heather Fontanilla, Career Pathways administrator for MDUSD.
Meanwhile, the Concord Business Education Alliance (CBEA) is a partnership between MDUSD, the city of Concord, the Concord Chamber of Commerce and John Muir Health. The CBEA grew out of a shared desire to deepen the partnership between Concord businesses and education.
The CBEA sponsors two annual events bringing industry partners and educators together. The first is BEST (Business and Educators Shadowing for Tomorrow) Day. Supported by the Contra Costa Economic Partnership and Opus Leeds, BEST Day is an opportunity for career pathway teachers to spend a day shadowing industry partners.
This allows teachers to learn from industry partners about current industry skills and practices. Teachers then reflect on how they can take what they learned back to the classroom.
CBEA also sponsors the annual Career Pathway Showcase, a chance for our career pathways to highlight the work they do during the school year. It also gives our industry and community partners times to talk to students about their experiences in the pathways. It is a great way to celebrate all the hard work of our students and teachers.