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Rebecca enrolled in the Orange County Workforce Development Board’s Young Adult Career Program because she was struggling to attend school and find employment. Rebecca graduated from Caesar Chavez High School in Cypress and was attending post-secondary school at Everest College/CNI College in Tustin to complete the Medical Assistant Certificate Program. While attending post-secondary school, Rebecca struggled to secure basic necessities such as food, clothing, transportation, and scrubs for her unpaid externship at a local clinic. The program was able to assist her in providing supportive services to help alleviate the cost of some of her necessities. Rebecca was able to complete workshops to improve her knowledge of time management, conflict resolution, and professional etiquette. She received guidance in creating a resume and interview skills. With the program’s help, Rebecca was able to complete the Medical Assistant Program, obtained a certificate, and passed the Medical Exam. With the encouragement of the staff Rebecca has more confidence to focus on longer term goals, such as working in the Healthcare field as a Medical Assistant and eventually to become a Surgery Technician.

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Code Girl

Valencia High School senior Sana Talwar was featured in the documentary CodeGirl. Earlier this year, she responded to the Technovation Challenge and for 16 weeks, worked with her team mentored by Valencia teacher Natasha Ulibarri on determining which community cause they wanted to solve by developing an app prototype. Posted by Dough Schultz PYLUSD


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The win -win for Business /Education Partnerships

This past summer, 8 students form Santa Ana Unified School District were afforded an opportunity of a life time by participating in paid internships at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena. Perhaps you’ve been following the story of eight high school students from Santa Ana who earned the rare opportunity to be paid interns at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. This opportunity was only realized through the generous financial support provided by OpTerra Energy System. with Offices in the Bay area and Orange county, OpTerra understands the positive return on investment when they support business/ education partnerships.

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JPL SpaceSHIP Summer Internship from Orange County Dept. of Education on Vimeo.

NEPRIS: Leveraging Technology to Increase Work-Based Learning Opportunities

We all know that providing pathway students with work-based learning opportunities is extremely important. We’ve made it a key priority in the OC Pathways year 2 workplan! If you add up the number of Orange county students in pathways at the secondary and post-secondary level, we have over 21,000 individuals who need support in acquiring a work based learning experience. This is a major challenge but we’re pursuing innovative strategies to ensure that we fulfill this critical obligation to pathway students in Orange County. One exciting initiative under way is the large scale adoption of a virtual mentoring and field trip platform called Nepris. Nepris is a cloud-based social platform that helps teachers find, match and connect with industry professionals around the world to bring real world relevance to classrooms.
This past spring, Orange Unified School District, under the leadership of Kathy Boyd, piloted Nepris and it was a home run! Students and teachers loved it. Using OC Pathways funds we have purchased site licenses for all pathway educators in our secondary and post-secondary programs. Plans for educator training are underway; details will be announced soon.
The success of Nepris of course hinges on our collective ability to identify industry professionals who are willing to serve as virtual mentors or to facilitate virtual field trips. Consequently, we need everyone to start identifying potential industry collaborators. Congratulations and thanks to Amy Kaufman who is leading the effort to make Nepris an important tool in our work-based learning toolkit and Omar Shepard from OCDE who has enthusiastically agreed to coordinate our launch efforts!

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OC MAKER CHALLENGE – Sparking Innovation

The intent of this project is to provide our diverse Orange County secondary and post-secondary student populations, with an opportunity to participate in an integrated STEM design project. The Maker Challenge will deliver an authentic experience and creative environment that combines STEM technologies, Art and Design in a culture of inquiry, problem solving, and active engagement. Students are challenged to identify a unique problem, document solutions and present a prototype.

The learning model for this project is to provide context for the convergence of academics, hands-on creativity and application of 21st Century skills. It will appeal to active learners and support higher order thinking skills and real-life problem solving. Students will undertake a self-directed open-ended design project within the framework of minimal published constraints. These constraints will include the intentional identification of STEM concepts in their original creations while accessing and infusing new technologies. Projects will showcase mastery of communication and critical thinking skills as students collaboratively generate insightful discussions based on extensive background reading and research. Important underpinnings of the Maker Challenge are an intentional focus on the new Common Core State Standards in Math, English Language Arts and the Next Generation Science Standards. The mastery of these standards will be assessed and showcased in the presentation of a Design Brief, graphic media, documentation of STEM research and physical prototypes of their creation.

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Ammar went into the counseling office at Woodbridge High School in Irvine out of desperation due to having filled out many job applications with no response. Ammar was referred to the Orange County Workforce Development Board’s Young Adult Career Program and expressed his interest in the pharmaceutical industry. Ammar and his mother moved from Syria to the United States in hopes of a better life, but they found great difficulty finding employment because of the language barrier. In Syria, Ammar’s mother owned her own pharmacy and Ammar worked at the pharmacy since he was young.

The Young Adult Career Program helped Ammar with interview and occupational skills. Through supportive services Ammar obtained bus passes, clothes, shoes, and basic necessities needed to find employment. The Young Adult Career Program’s job developer worked on finding him a placement in a pharmaceutical environment to coincide with the experience he had obtained.

Ammar was given the opportunity to interview at CVS. Initially being very nervous about the interview, Ammar received guidance and assistance from the program which resulted in a successful interview and acceptance to complete his work experience at CVS. With hard work and willingness to learn, Ammar was hired on permanently. Working part-time and going to school he was able to graduate high school, enrolled at Irvine Valley College where he received an Associate’s Degree, and subsequently transferred to Cal State Fullerton.

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FUNDING: Federal Government’s CS For All $4 billion initiative

the White house just announced this incredible initiative that underscores the importance of efforts underway in Orange County related to the ICT pathway.

“Computer Science for All is the President’s bold new initiative to empower all American students from kindergarten through high school to learn computer science and be equipped with the computational thinking skills they need to be creators in the digital economy, not just consumers, and to be active citizens in our technology-driven world. Our economy is rapidly shifting, and both educators and business leaders are increasingly recognizing that computer science (CS) is a “new basic” skill necessary for economic opportunity and social mobility.”


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EDUCATOR PROFILE: Peter Selby, Corona Del Mar H.S.

Peter Selby, Physics teacher, Science Chair and STEM coordinator at Corona Del Mar high in the Newport Mesa School District was recognized this fall as the UC Davis C-STEM teacher of the year. the award was bestowed based on Peter’s outstanding efforts in providing all physics students at his site with opportunities to engage in robotics and programming. Peter’s bio makes it clear why he was selected for this prestigious award.

“This is my 3rd year working with C-STEM Robotics. It all started in late 2013 when Coastline ROP organized a presentation from Dr. Harry Cheng to our district science and math teachers. I was intrigued by the presentation, but thoroughly hooked after the two day training in January. It was immediately apparent to me that this C-STEM Robotics could be a student-engaging curriculum for the Physics and Mathematics classrooms. The first spring was treated as a pilot program. I tested the equipment on 10 freshmen Robotics Club volunteers that met in my room at lunch. Two months later, I was amazed by the focus, enthusiasm and endurance demonstrated by the students in Roboplay Competition. After that encouraging year, we expanded the program to include Middle School students who practiced once a week in the afternoon. (up to 50 students involved) We have now reached the point where all Physics classes utilize Robotics units in the fall and spring (about 260 students.) I am working on finding new ways to utilize Linkbots in Physics activities and challenges. We will also be offering extra-curricular C-STEM Robotics and Programming on a daily basis to Middle School and High School students. Our parent foundation became so excited by our results in competition, they decided to remodel and repurpose a room on campus for robotics and STEM activities. We hope to make programming a main-stream extra-curricular activity on our campus this year. This should hopefully pave the way for robotics and programming in the normal school day in years to come!


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Jacob enrolled in Orange County Workforce Development Board’s Young Adult Career Program as a graduate from La Vista High School in Fullerton with no work experience. Upon initial enrollment Jacob had no interest in attending post-secondary education.

With the assistance of the Young Adult Career Program, which focuses on career pathways and preparation for entry into the labor market, Jacob successfully completed a component of our program addressing life skills and work readiness. Through this curriculum young adults are prepared for the day to day challenges of life and learn what is necessary to be successful employees. Career exploration is also heavily emphasized in the program. Jacob presented an interest in the high-demand occupation of Radiology and developed a specific interest to become an X-Ray Technician.

Jacob was placed to work on a conservation crew to gain initial work experience. He was motivated by his case manager to enroll into Fullerton College to obtain an Associate’s Degree. Upon completion of his degree Jacob is planning on transferring to a 4 year university to pursue a career in the medical field as an X-Ray Technician.

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EDUCATOR PROFILE: Yassi Motamed TeWinkle Middle School

Welcome to my 7th and 8th grade PLTW robotics class at TeWinkle Middle School, Newport-Mesa Unified School District. We have been focusing the first semester on what engineers do, what robotics is, and we are building mechanical systems. Students have been practicing mapping out the design process throughout their activities to see the hard work and dedication it takes to invent something and to be an engineer! Students are using the VEX Robotics® platform to design and build real-world objects. By the end of the semester, all of my students will have built several gear assemblies including a gear train, bevel gears, a worm and wheel, a chain drive, a lead screw, a belt drive, a cam and follower, and a crank and slider!

I have been so impressed at the hard work and dedication my students have shown throughout this semester. They are so intrinsically motivated to finish their gear assemblies and move on to what is next. I have never seen kids so happy and hungry to learn! The maturity I have seen has also gone above and beyond my expectations. The materials they work with are always put back in the correct spot, none of my materials have been damaged due to the care the students take into building and cleaning up their work stations. They help one another out, they share, and they learn from one another. As a teacher, what more can I ask for?

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