Students Connect with Local Companies at Inspire: Dreams Move Forward

February 05 2018

By Tim Goree, Daily Republic

Over 800 high school sophomores. Nearly 30 local companies. Over 25 buses. 9 high schools. 7 organizational community partners. 3 keynote speakers. One amazing opportunity to explore future career paths!

February 2nd is not only Groundhog Day, it is National Job Shadow Day, but moving forward, high school students in Solano County may start to think of it as Inspire Day.

Inspire: Dreams Move Forward is the second leg of a program that began three years ago with the Inspire: Dreams Start Now event for 8th grade students and will eventually include a component for high school seniors. The goal of the Inspire program is to connect Solano County’s workforce pipeline with the dreams and aspirations of K-12 students in the local area.

At the Inspire: Dreams Move Forward event, 10th grade students had the unique opportunity to tour some of the most prominent commercial companies and non-profit organizations in Solano County, and they chose their touring path based on their own interests and passions. The organizations involved represent hundreds of jobs with many different career paths for students to explore, and they created an experience for students that was as interactive as possible. Students described the tours as, “eye opening”, “exciting”, and “informative”. Some students even connected with organizational leaders who offered them internship opportunities.

In the afternoon, Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District students continued their day with lunch, a keynote speaker, and activities that allowed them to reflect on and discuss the outcomes of their day. At lunch, community leaders sat with students to discuss their involvement in community service groups such as Rotary, Toastmasters, Soroptimists, Solano EDC, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, and the Chamber of Commerce. They stressed the importance of community leadership in the form of “giving back”, both for the community members who receive the service and the leader who provides it. These ideas were then hammered home by the keynote speakers at each of three school sites: William Wesley of Full Life Balance at Rodriguez High School, Lori Wilson, the Mayor Pro Tem of Suisun City at Fairfield High School, and Lisette Estrella-Henderson, the Superintendent of Solano County Schools at Armijo High School.

Inspire: Dreams Move Forward is the result of a partnership between Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District, the Vacaville Unified School District, the Solano County Office of Education, the Solano County Workforce Development Board, the Solano County Economic Development Corporation, the Vacaville Chamber of Commerce, and the Fairfield-Suisun Chamber of Commerce.

The organizations that provided the interactive industry tours for students included Alstom Transportation, Altec Industries, Cal State Maritime Academy, City of Fairfield, City of Vacaville, Clorox, DesigneRx, Embry Riddle, Fairfield-Suisun Sewer District, Jelly Belly, Kaiser Permanente, Mare Island Dry Dock, Meyer Corporation, MuriGenics, Northbay Healthcare, Paradise Valley Estates, Partnership Healthplan of CA, Six Flags, Solano Community College, Synder Filtration, TenCate Advanced Composites, Touro University, and Travis AFB.