Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Contra Costa's Environmental Media Workshop a Huge Success

During the month of July, 19 current Contra Costa County high school students and recent graduates had been honing their job and life skills to prepare them for additional education and upcoming employment through participation in the Environmental Media Workshop. Headquartered at Vicente Martinez High School, in Martinez, this impressive workshop was true community partnership to assist our next leaders in East Bay’s high-growth job sectors. 

With funding provided by the Contra Costa County Workforce Development Board, the Contra Costa County Office of Education’s Youth Development Services (YDS), the workshop’s fiscal agent, was able to bring their students together with a number of professional practitioners in the fields of manufacturing and digital media. The four-week program was created and managed by another partner, Lunchbox International.

YDS Specialist Denise Clarke reports, “Along with all of the useful information these students learned, they also earned $800 after completing the 100-hour program.” Clarke and co-worker Oscar Blackwell case-manage the students who are enrolled in a federally funded WIA program (WorkforceInvestment Act). “In addition with their classroom and hands-on education, these students learned life-skills that will certainly help them in school and on the job. These skills included employment interviewing, resume writing, and on-the-job proficiencies.”

The students studied about rainwater harvesting, and how to build efficient systems for homes and buildings by incorporating piping and specialized rain-collection barrels.  Incoming Concord High School senior, Michael Camilleri-Betz, said, “I really enjoy working with the math formulas as we created water-harvesting systems for different types of buildings. We would design specific systems and calculate the best way to collect water coming off a roof and into a rain barrel.”

The entire class impressed the instructors on how well they absorbed the learning materials and then passed the Green Building LEED Certification testing. One of the instructors noted that he’d never seen such a group do so well.  After finishing up their certification, the students went right into digital media training. This was another hands-on instruction where the students created a video public service announcement on rainwater harvesting, while learning about lighting, sound, video production and editing, and working with on-air talent.

YDS Manager Catherine Giacalone said, “Our first order is to make sure these students earn their high school diploma, and then prepare them for post secondary education and careers. We are offering such trainings with this summer where local employment research forecasts the need to fill manufacturing, digital media and well as health care jobs. East Bay employers continue to look for trained and skilled employees in these areas. This is an expensive area for people to live in, and these work experiences will prepare youth for employment in high-wage, high-growth industry sectors. ”