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MOORPARK HIGH COVETS NEW GRANT.

Byline: Lisa Mascaro Daily News Staff Writer

Teachers at Moorpark High School can only begin to imagine the career opportunities they could make available to students if the campus was tapped to receive a portion of a new $1 million grant to county schools.

For starters, they could open an Engineering and Technology Academy to introduce students to jobs in those fields, as one teacher has been hoping to do. They could hire a part-time instructor to seek out more internship opportunities for students, such as those already being offered this year to students in the school's Health Science Academy. Or they could simply purchase computers and supplies needed in classrooms.

``It would give us enough money to properly train the students, to go out and prepare them,'' said David Wolf, a career technician at the school. ``There's so many - so many - jobs, especially out this way. If we could properly prepare the students, they could come out of school making 12 to 15 bucks an hour. They can do that while they're going to school or, if they're not going to college, it will help them in the work force.''

Educators across the county will have the chance to apply for portions of a $1 million federal grant awarded last week to the Ventura School-to-Career Consortium, a coalition of local school and business officials promoting career opportunities for students.

Five local high schools and one local community college will be chosen during the next few months to receive funds from the grant to bolster their programs. By the time the four-year grant is exhausted, the consortium hopes to award funding to each of the county's 20 high schools and three community colleges.

Ventura County Superintendent of Schools Charles Weis, who had been working to secure the grant for several years, welcomed the funding as a way to help students secure career opportunities while spurring the local economy with a young work force.

``It's really going to cross your academic areas as well as your occupational training,'' said Cheryl Shearer, dean of economic development for the Ventura County Community College District, and a member of the consortium. ``We're looking at how to infuse career skills, job-related skills into'' the school curriculum.

A similar grant was turned down a few years ago by the Ventura County Board of Education, which voted in 1995 not to accept a $2.5 million federal grant for a school-to-work program because it had too many strings attached.

At the time, Weis, who is elected but who reports to the board, vowed to independently pursue the grant that he believed would provide career development opportunities for area youngsters.

The funds awarded Friday amount to up to $1 million a year for as many as four years, and educators hope to use the money to target high school and community college career programs.

The consortium has identified eight career paths for high schools to focus on that include agriculture, family and consumer services, arts and communications, business, engineering technology, health sciences, industrial and technological services, and public services.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Oct 20, 1998
Words:511
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