Kathy Goodacre of Career Technical Education Foundation Sonoma County wins North Bay Women in Business award
Kathy Goodacre says the coronavirus crisis is highlighting peoples’ strength and resiliency. She is a 2020 North Bay Business Journal Women in Business Awards winner.
Professional background:Marketing, fundraising, nonprofit administration
Education:Bachelor of Science, Communications
Tell us about yourself and your company: I started my career in Sonoma County in 1990 as the vice president, Fund Development for United Way.
In 1997, I launched a sole proprietor business providing an array of consulting services with an emphasis on nonprofit program and fund development. My firm, Community Solutions Group, was instrumental in the success and development of numerous nonprofit organizations throughout Sonoma County.
I hold a bachelor’s degree in communications (Murray State University, Murray, Kentucky), and currently live in east Santa Rosa with my husband, Matt of 32 years and have two children, Nick/22 and Lauren/31.
I joined Career Technical Education Foundation (CTEF) as Executive Director/CEO in 2013. CTEF works to align industry and education to strengthen economic development and student success through the development of innovative career to education strategies. I lead a board representative of education, business, government and community leaders.
CTEF has invested millions in grants to schools and programs connecting teachers and students with industry to ensure career connected learning.
Is there a major accomplishment in the past year or so that you would like to share?
Following the 2017 fires, the CTE Foundation partnered with North Coast Builders Exchange and Sonoma County Office of Education to rapidly expand a program that trains and introduces high school seniors to careers in construction/trades.
The foundation was successful in securing their first $1million grant to support the expansion of the North Bay Construction Corps into five counties.
In January 2020, the program enrolled nearly 200 students from Sonoma, Mendocino, Lake, Napa and Marin counties, up from the original class of 24 in 2017.
What is the achievement you are most proud of?
Being part of the founding leadership team to launch and develop the business model for the CTE Foundation. Conceived in 2012 as an untried idea, a group of local leaders came together to address the mis-aligned system for education and industry.
Employers were concerned about the lack of technical and soft skills development coming out of Sonoma County schools (high school, community college and university).
With initial seed funding from the County of Sonoma and John Jordan Foundation, in 2013 the Foundation offered competitive grants for local high schools to expand and enhance career technical education with an initial focus on engineering and design. In one funding year, among 15 public high schools, the county went from offering just one engineering class at one high school to six.
Since its founding, the foundation has invested more than $2 million in more than 130 career technical education classes supporting the local, high demand, high skill and high wage careers in manufacturing, agriculture, construction, health care and hospitality/tourism. Additional investments have been made in career connected learning programs, partnering with major employers to offer real world, career exploration and training to local students and teachers. More than 9,500 students impacted to date!
What is your biggest challenge today?
Managing the day-to-day business, keeping employee morale up, and most importantly, pivoting student engagement programs during COVID and distance learning. We know that this pandemic will pass, however, and the toughest challenge we face that is much deeper and longer term, is how we assume responsibility as community leaders, and in our personal and professional life with the systemic racism and bias that impacts the future success of our students and communities of color.
Words that best describe you: Authenticity, integrity, compassionate, strategic, thoughtful, confident, collaborative, professional, transparent.
In what ways have the pandemic and the shelter-in-place orders changed who you are as a person that will be a part of you long after the pandemic has passed?
I believe like most crises we have been through, we are reminded of the strength and resiliency we have as human beings.
Also, what ways do you think it will change the way you go about your career and your business?
More flexibility and employees choosing to work from home; fewer in-person meetings and events.
And when it comes to the COVID-19 issue, what are some the lessons learned for the business community?