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Colfax High gets financial boost for career education

By: Jenifer Gee
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Colfax High School’s career technical education program will be $150,000 richer come next school year. The high school struck an agreement with Sierra College to be the pilot site for a project that promotes science, technology, engineering and math education. The college will fund professional development, equipment, software and more to expand career technical education at the high school for at least one year, according to Sandra Scott, director of workforce development and continuing education at Sierra College. “They were looking for a partnership with Sierra College to be able to perhaps configure their career technical education program in a different way,” Scott explained. “(The grant) will give us the resources to be able to put something innovative together.” Colfax High School Principal Rick Spears said he is looking forward to developing classes that are focused on teaching occupational skills. “We are thrilled with the opportunity to establish a new program involving multiple teachers and industry partners,” Spears said in a news release. “It is a whole new way of preparing our students for the future and could lead them into creative, highly satisfying and well-paid technical careers that they may not have considered without this early exposure.” The money is part of a $600,000 grant from the governor’s career technical education initiative. The college received the funding from the California Community College Chancellor’s Office. Part of the money, about $100,000, will fund an existing construction program at North Tahoe High School. The rest will be spread out among schools in Placer and Nevada counties. Schools will receive help with professional development and some teachers will be eligible for paid externships. Funding will also support the development of a Web site that could eventually serve as a discussion forum for area science, technology, math and engineering teachers, Scott said. Scott said she hopes the grant will start a program at Colfax High that will continue over the next four to five years. However, she cautioned that officials are unsure if that will happen depending on the outcome of the state budget crisis. Ultimately, Scott said, the college wants to build early interest in science, technology, math and engineering. “We might spark something in some student’s imagination,” Scott said. The Journal’s Jenifer Gee can be reached at jeniferg@goldcountrymedia.com, or post a comment at auburnjournal.com.