Chico Unified School District receives large grant

Chico Unified School District receives large grant

CHIICO — Chico Unified School District has been awarded a financial gift just in time for Christmas.

The district, which collaborated with businesses and the community, was awarded $709,335 to help enhance the 21 career pathways at Chico High School and Pleasant Valley High School.

The district has been awarded the K12 Strong Workforce Program grant for the last four years. Since the first Strong Workforce grant award in 2019, CUSD has received $2.6 million for the high school Career Technical Education programs. Funds are used to enhance existing programs by improving classroom facilities, equipment, industry-specific professional development and work-based learning opportunities for students, according to a press release.

The physical therapy room at Pleasant Valley High School is pictured in September 2021 in Chico, California. (Tiffany Herringer/CTE Coordinator)

Continued advancement and coursework in the skilled trades help provide student prospects beyond graduation. Hands-on learning and career readiness programs are expanding. Chico Unified offers nine industry sectors and 21 individual Career and Technical Education pathways district-wide. Facility improvements include the recently unveiled Pleasant Valley High School Campus buildings: the Medical Pathway/Sports Therapy Classroom and Culinary Arts and Viking Fire & Fork Learning Facility, according to the release. The Culinary Arts Pathway Project includes eight industrial cooking stations in the training lab, a video demonstration counter, industrial wait stations, wash stations and training equipment. Adjacent to the industrial kitchen lab is a “Restaurant Experience” lab. The Viking Fire and Fork allows culinary students to work and manage a real-world campus and event dining experience.

Several other Career Technical Education grant-funded facilities are currently in construction at Pleasant Valley High School. New projects underway include a child development classroom, Arts, Media and Entertainment lab and the Architecture and Manufacturing upgrades. Improvements include a new architecture lab, a new Computer Aided Design lab with 38 portable workstations and a modernized welding shop.

Chico High School’s agricultural programs have seen upgrades, including a new greenhouse and welding shop extension and new equipment, according to the release.

Chico Unified School District offers nine industry sectors with 21 individual pathways.

At Pleasant Valley High School, this includes Architecture, Engineering, Welding and Fabrication, Food Service and Hospitality, Child Development, Education, Patient Care, Sports Medicine, Graphic Arts, Commercial Arts, Video Production and Public Safety. The programs at Chico High School include Ag Welding, Agriscience, Ornamental Horticulture, Floriculture, Digital Arts, Engineering, Architecture, Patient Care, Information Support and Services and Software and Systems Development.

“Chico Unified School District has incredible Career Technical Education staff and facilities at both high schools, and we look forward to supporting our students with new equipment and program tools,” said Chico Unified School District superintendent Kelly Staley. “We are incredibly thankful to our students and staff for creating a robust Career Technical Education Program. These grant funds will help support programs that offer work-based learning and industry skills to help prepare students for graduation and beyond.”

“It’s amazing what these programs are doing,” said Chico Unified School District’s Coordinator of Community Relations Erica Smith. “We’re very excited to have these CTE opportunities.”

Smith said that students from Chico High recently visited Chico Junior High School science classes and gave students a presentation regarding the medical pathways program.

“That was amazing,” Smith said.

Learn more about school improvement projects and the growing Career Technical Education Pathways available to Chico High, Pleasant Valley High School and Oak Bridge Academy students at

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