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Local business people go back to school – and like it 

chamber goes back to school

The adults pictured are Paso Robles Chamber CEO Sunni Mullinax, from right, Chris Bausch, a Paso Robles school board member, Pam Avila from the chamber, Belinda Bass of Scientific Drilling and Gina Fitzpatrick of Heritage Oaks Bank with Paso Robles High School students on both sides of her.

Last week, a group of Paso Robles business people were given a taste of the quality of education in our community. Spending a morning at Paso Robles High School, they met with principal Randall Nelson and members of his faculty and student body before visiting numerous classrooms throughout the campus. Arranged by the Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce Stronger Futures Foundation, this special event is part of a long-term program bringing together education and business to work on workforce and job skills issues that affect our young people and the local economy.

For this first “Business Goes To School” event, invitations were sent to business people whose companies represented one of the 10 career pathways identified in a recent grant to SLO county schools. Among the invitees were Julie Pollack, owner of Moonlight Mechanic, representing careers in the automotive industry; Lisa Vasek, MD, Paso Robles Urgent Care, representing careers in healthcare; Larry Werner, North Coast Engineering, representing careers in construction/engineering; Cindy Steinbeck, Steinbeck Vineyards, representing careers in agriculture; and Bob Bourgault, Almond Acres Charter Academy, representing childhood education and development. Additional invitees represented tourism/hospitality, information technology, performing arts, and finance.

Belinda Bass of Scientific Drilling said “Paso Robles High School has state-of-the-art technology, programs and talented teachers to produce prepared students for advanced education within the global workforce of today. As a local employer, Scientific Drilling, looks forward to partnering with Paso Robles High School.”

Added Larry Werner, “What I saw blew me away. What an incredible resource we have at the high school.”

The work to bring greater understanding and collaboration efforts between education and business will continue as a key element of the chamber’s new Stronger Futures Foundation, with the mission of building stronger futures for the residents of North SLO County by creating programs and training developed through an alliance of local commerce and education.

Pam Avila, President of Stronger Futures and Director of Economic Development at the Chamber, said, “The economic future of our community depends, in part, on our ability to provide a skilled workforce for businesses, well-paying jobs for our residents, and good career opportunities for our young adults. This can only happen when business and education join forces and combine resources.”

The next “Business Goes to School” is already being planned for early Spring 2015. For more information, contact Pam Avila at (805) 238-0506.

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About the author: Publisher Scott Brennan

Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn, or follow his blog.