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It Takes a Whole Community to Build the Next-Generation Workforce

By Rebecca Ross

Did you know that education has a direct correlation to the economic development and vitality of your community? Does your industry have a pipeline problem because young people do not know about or seem interested in a career in your field? Would you like to be recognized by the public and private sector as a leader in changing the lives of youth in West County? Is your business willing to join with other local businesses to motivate local youth and to develop the next-generation workforce by providing or sponsoring a much-needed summer internship?

Every business can help. If you can’t use an intern, you can take advantage of an affordable sponsorship  to help another local business that cannot afford to offer someone an internship.

The West Contra Costa Unified School District is looking for internships that will teach and develop critical work-based skills needed for success. Typical internships are three to five days per week and last four to five weeks.

The WCCUSD high-school Pathways program focuses on seven industry sectors: engineering, health, information technology, media, law, performing arts, and tourism/hospitality. Our purpose is to graduate students who are college- and career-ready and who make productive and healthy choices. Some students choose to enter their pathway career field directly or to further their pathway knowledge and skills through college, while others may choose a different field.

The goal is to arm students with broadly transferrable skills so that regardless of their future career choice, they have gained workplace soft skills, transferrable career skills, and confidence. In the classroom the students have been learning essential skills that are critical for success as citizens and workers in the 21st century. The Internship Program seeks to give students the opportunities to practice and continue to develop these skills. These essential skills are as follows:


          Solve problems and make decisions

          Think creatively

          Learn through research

          Reflect and evaluate



          Write clearly

          Speak distinctly

          Listen carefully and ask good questions

          Observe effectively



          Cooperate with others

          Give and receive feedback

          Negotiate challenges and resolve conflicts

          Plan and prioritize to reach a goal



          Use new and emerging technology

          Use responsible behavior regarding technology (“digital citizenship”)



          Manage time effectively

          Demonstrate appropriate behavior and attire

          Recognize and respond appropriately to workplace challenges

          Show initiative and work independently

          Be reliable and dependable


Internships are critically important for young people as they prepare for life after high school and they reinforce an important message that learning and earning are intrinsically related.

If you would like more information or to discuss project ideas, contact Rebecca Ross with WCCUSD at or (415) 717-5128.


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