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Students. employers converge to shape future valley

Click Here to see article on the Desert Sun Website

About 80 Palm Springs Unified School District students and 20 local business representatives exchanged thoughts, ideas and expectations relative to future work-based learning opportunities at a morning workshop last week at the Agua Caliente Resort.

Produced by the Foundation for PSUSD and the district’s Career Technical Education Department, the morning workshop brought representatives from local businesses interested in long-term sustainability for their business and the future workforce of the Coachella Valley together with students from one of the district’s career academies who will be seeking internship or job shadowing opportunities in the spring or next year.

Following separate breakout sessions for employers and students that focused on creating the future workforce through internships, the “World Café” roundtable discussions between students and employers helped each better understand the needs and expectations on both sides of the experience. The table topics included “What’s In It for Me” (both from a student and business perspective); “Communication, Conversation and Reliability” and “Technical Skills Versus Professional Skills.”

“The work being done by the individual academies is inspiring,” wrote KMIR TV office manager Cindy Sparks following the workshop. “Interacting with the youth was especially rewarding, and I look forward to participating in your internship program as it grows.”

Student feedback indicated that the event encouraged them to “talk more and get out of my comfort zone,” “interact and ask questions” and “follow my dreams and never give up on anything that I want to do.”

The morning sessions concluded with students and business representatives visiting the tables hosted by students from each of PSUSD’s career academies so all could get an overview of each academy’s focus area. During the concluding luncheon, the foundation presented eight business partners with “Champions of Excellence” awards for their support of the programs. The Business of the Year honor was presented to Greg and Dee Dee Barton, of Barton CPA, which provide the foundation’s accounting services, free of charge.

“This school district is really about family,” said Dee Dee Barton. “The foundation is changing your lives and our children’s lives. (Executive director) Ellen (Goodman) took us from a good-hearted, noble organization, empowered us and brought us to the multi-million dollar fund raising organization we are today.”

Other business partners honored included:

George Puddephatt, Riverside County Workforce Development; Joshua King, CK Dance Studios;  Betty Watkins, strategic marketing and communications professional; Dr. Lorraine Becker; May Cardas, Savory Spice; Efraim Young, Tesla; Dick Nelson, Alert Services; and   Dr. Glenn Grayman, Borrego Health/El Centro Medico.

Joan Boiko is the coordinator of communications and community outreach for the Palm Springs Unified School District. She can be reached at jboiko@psusd.us or (760) 416-6010.

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