FRESNO, California (KSEE) – Students enrolled in Career Technical Education and ROP programs often had a difficult time making the transition from high school to career.
But the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools and valley businesses are providing a pathway to employment to help bridge that gap.
18-year-old Frank Martin Toste is now working at Fresno Equipment Company. The firm’s owner and CEO Marsha Vucovich hired him as an intern right out of Kerman High School.
“I think it’s awesome because not many people have that opportunity,” said Frank. “So it’s pretty nice to have that chance to do that.”
Fresno Equipment is a 58-year-old Central Valley business and is authorized to sell John Deere products. There is a huge demand for trained workers to service this equipment.
“John Deere has highly technical equipment now all computer-based and so we need young students who have the potential to be trained.”
Working with Fresno County Superintendent of Schools’ Anthony Ayerza, companies like Fresno Equipment seek out students in Career Technical Education and ROP programs who are ready for a career.
“We’ve built a relationship between education and industry and career opportunities so the goal is to take it to the next step,” said Ayerza. “Not job shadow, but when they graduate from high school let’s put them in a real job with real money and a real career.”
Frank works full time at Fresno Equipment during the summer months. When school starts, he is there part-time while continuing his studies at Reedley College in the Mechanized Ag program.
Instructor Gary Wenter says about 10% of his students are like Frank: young people lucky enough to have a company sponsor them through their schooling.
“Fresno Equipment is pro-active in that they want to grow their own,” said Wenter. “They’ve got a good young guy in frank that they can groom and bring him along and train him the way they want to train them.”
“It feels good knowing that I don’t have to worry too much about planning everything out cause it’s already done,” said Toste. “I’m already going through it.”
Fresno Equipment Company says it has recruited six Central Valley students and some of them are now working as full-time employees.