In California’s Central Valley, youth unemployment stands at a staggering 37%, yet there are an estimated 58,000 high-skilled, STEM-based agricultural jobs that will open between now and 2020. With fewer than 36,000 graduates expected to enter the workforce in that timeframe, there is poised to be a significant skills gap.
That’s why we created our signature high school program, Wonderful Agriculture Career Prep (Ag Prep). This innovative career pathways program aligns high schools, colleges and industry and establishes a “contract” between students, parents and schools—all in an effort to create real-world learning experiences that prepare students for the high-tech jobs of the future. Ag Prep is a rigorous four-year academic track that offers high school students courses taught by college professors, allowing participants to complete their high school academic requirements and earn college credit. At graduation, students earn their high school diploma, obtain 60 units of credit by having taken 20 college courses, and graduate with an Associate of Science degree in hand, all tuition-free. Students can then either enter our skilled Ag workforce with a guaranteed high-paying job ($35,000–$50,000/year), or they can go to a four-year college and enter as a junior, finishing in half the time and at half the cost.
Seven High Schools. Three Pathways. One big reward.
Ag Business Management
Students learn computer applications in Ag economics, business, and accounting; how to lead and manage people and how millions of farm products are bought and sold around the world.
Future careers: Supervisor, Analyst, Accountant
Students learn computer applications in machinery technology, electrical and hydraulics, and welding fabrication. They learn how to operate or improve modern machines and use technology to make work more efficient.
Future careers: Machine Operator, Equipment Mechanic, Electrician
Students learn computer applications in plant nutrition, irrigation management and pesticides. They learn how to use GPS technology for precision irrigation and the science behind pest control.
Future careers: Irrigation Manager, Crop of Spray Technician, Pest Control Field Scout