Submitted by Lisa Kelly
Eight students from Plumas Charter School and Plumas Unified completed the Technology Career Exploration Summer Institute (TESI) on June 28. The students, all of whom have an affinity for technology and computer science, joined the pilot TESI program that started on June 12. The intensive summer program, led by Steve Hill of AIQ Systems, delved into IT Concepts, infrastructure, software applications and development, hardware, AI and cyber security during the two-week program held at Feather River College. When asked about what they liked the most, students enjoyed taking computers apart, learning about the many layers of cyber security, their “most amazing teacher” and the job shadows.
Students were in class at FRC Monday through Thursday and each Friday of the two weeks. Students visited a total of five organizations that rely heavily upon technology, including: Plumas Bank, Plumas County Sheriff’s Office, Plumas District Hospital, Sierra Pacific Industries and Plumas County’s IT department. Each visit was unique and job shadow hosts (proctors) were welcoming and eager to share the constructs of their roles and discuss the associated skills and knowledge necessary to be successful in their respective organizations. Proctors also relayed information and insights about careers in technology, and students were exposed to the range of opportunities with this skill set.
At the conclusion of the program, parents, proctors, school staff and administrators were invited to student presentations where students shared their reflections: “I really liked taking computers apart and rebuilding them;” “Steve showed us how to get a 10-page report on cookies in 3 seconds using ChatGBT” and “I definitely want to go into technology, and this class helped me see all the opportunities available to me.” Students received certificates of completion and were awarded gift cards for their efforts, thanks to the sponsorship of F1 Technologies of New York and Sierra Pacific Industries.
While this program was a pilot, similar to the inception of the Health Care Career Exploration Spring Institute (HESI) offered to Plumas County students in 2022-23, there is interest in sustaining these types of short term, intensive (and often, certification-bearing) programs that enhance Career and Technology Education (CTE) pathways. “It was a privilege to work with Steve Hill to build the TESI program, as well as the leaders in industry, who provide invaluable partnerships that inspire students and also contribute to the relevance of CTE pathways.” said Lisa Kelly, K12 Strong Workforce Pathway Coordinator. “Given the way students prefer to learn, short-term, career-sector focused programs that employ industry partners seem to be an invaluable learning opportunity for students today, as evidenced by the success of TESI and HESI.”
Special thanks to our job shadow hosts/proctors: Sheriff Todd Johns and Tanner Mckay – Plumas County Sheriff’s Office, Melodie Sylvia – Plumas County IT Dept., David Schmid – Plumas Bank, Rita Bunzel and Mike Taborski – Sierra Pacific Industries, Liz Steffen and Justina Anderson – Plumas District Hospital. Thank you to Feather River College for hosting this class and to Plumas Charter and Plumas Unified for encouraging students to participate in enriching experiences. For more information on upcoming programs, contact Dr. Lisa Kelly at [email protected].