CTE Fund awards schools $213,000 in second year

SONOMA COUNTY -- A fund established to grant public and private dollars in support of career technical education courses at Sonoma County schools has announced a total of $213,000 in grants in its second year, allowing the creation or continued support of 10 courses in six school districts.

Spanning areas like engineering, agriculture, design and general career planning, those courses are granted up to $20,000 per year based on the ability to support workforce needs for Sonoma County employers. Ten high school programs and two middle school programs received funding, along with sponsorship of a development summit for Sonoma County educators, according to executive director of the so-called Career Technical Education Fund, Kathy Goodacre.

Administered by the nonprofit Community Foundation Sonoma County and launched by an initial investment from Puma Springs Vineyards owners Tony Crabb and Barbara Grasseschi, the CTE Fund has raised a total of $960,000 since formation in 2012. Funding and pledges have nearly doubled since 2013, when the John Jordan Foundation and the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors spearheaded the contribution of $505,000 to the effort.

The fund has served as a rallying point for public, private and corporate donors seeking to target donations for specific needs in career technical education, with top contributors that include the Larry L. Hillblom Foundation, American AgCredit, Big John's Market, Gardenworks Inc., Hotel Healdsburg, Kaiser Permanente, Redwood Credit Union, the Soiland Family fund and Herb and Jane Dwight, Ms. Goodacre said.

While many Sonoma County schools offer a variety of career technical education courses, that direct involvement for employers and others participating in the fund has been an attractive feature, she said.

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