Knowledge is Power. When you participate in our programs, you empower students through sharing your knowledge.


We have a variety of ways for local businesses to help students find their way. Our programs run from just a few hours to a full day. By giving of your time you can help change a student’s life, exposing them to a variety of career options they never knew existed. We want our local youth to find work in Santa Cruz and make Santa Cruz County a better place to work and live.


A career panel is a quick way for middle and/or high school students to discover local businesses and careers. Three panelists from different industries visit a classroom for 1-1.5 hours. They each take about 5 minutes to describe their career and how they arrived where they are now.

With the help of their teachers, students prepare questions ahead of time. The remainder of the class is Q & A. New panelists are often surprised by the thoughtfulness of the students and their eagerness to find a viable career path. This is an easy way to connect with a large number of students.





The Career EXPO is a traveling trade show that visits every high school in Santa Cruz County. Students at each school cycle through the EXPO during the morning on pre-established breaks or as part of a Regional Occupational Program (ROP) class.

At the EXPO, students have the opportunity to learn about each of the 15 standard industry sectors, in California. Two to three companies or individuals from each sector staff booths that provide students access to information about careers, jobs, training and education needs and resources. This can be a real eye-opener for students, exposing them to career options they never knew existed.

This is timely, real-world information that students can use to plan a career – starting on that day. This relaxed and friendly event brings local business and public sector employers face-to-face with the students who may soon become their employees.

As they exit the EXPO, students fill out survey to indicate what they learned. YFIOB summarizes student feedback to measure student and industry impact. Data is shared with industry representative, school administrators and career counselors.  EXPO information helps to update career education , future EXPO’s, and industry sector marketing information.


To paraphrase Aristotle, “We learn by doing.” It’s on this foundation that we created the Job Shadowing program.

High school students choose an industry or specific job that they’re interested in exploring. They spend 3 hours with a host in their workplace. The host gives the student an overview of their job responsibilities and a tour of their place of work. Students prepare questions, pre-approved by their teacher, prior to their arrival. Questions can be asked and answered at any time throughout the job shadowing.

Following the introduction, the host and student spend time side-by-side while the host works and the student observes. This is a rare opportunity for students to see jobs in detail and gain a realistic expectation of a career in their chosen industry. It’s also a tremendous opportunity for businesses to get students excited about pursuing a career with their company.



One step up from job shadowing is actually working in the industry. It’s the best way for students to understand what a job and industry are really like. Interns can be paid or unpaid and their hours vary depending on the commitment from the employer. These hands-on experiences are invaluable in giving students clarity about industries that interest them.


This innovative career education program has two components. First, teachers attend workshops that train them how to show ‘high-risk’ students how to map out their careers, beginning with an entry-level job.

Second, these teachers, show students how to identify ‘who they are’ , their skills, interests, and values, then how to find a potential career that aligns with who they are. The students learn practical steps to gain entry-level employment through the development of the core skills of resume writing, interviewing, and filling out job-applications.

The series takes students beyond landing a job, helping them understand and develop digital citizenship, and the financial aspects of the job-market. They also build the tools they need to succeed by growing good communication, time management, teamwork and organizational skills.


Become a mentor and help a student get their career off to a great start. Mentors meet with a student or students regularly. They serve as a role model, answer questions and provide a working person’s perspective. Often they help with resumes and letters of introduction, give interview advice, help build a professional support network and strategizing about career goals. Meetings can happen in-person, virtually, or via Email, whichever works best for everyone.


Celebrates Santa Cruz business + education partnerships

  • Local Business and Industries
  • County and City Government Agencies
  • Comprehensive & Alternative High School students
  • Engages adults in student’s dreams
  • Strengthens networks between local businesses and educational agencies

Showcases the skills of high school students in multiple career technical classes

  • Business & Marketing
  • Agriculture & Natural Resources
  • Energy
  • Hospitality
  • Photography
  • Entertainment
  • Videography


Teachers are influential in the career choices of their students. Through this program, teachers spend the month of July working in the industry related to the subject that they teach. It’s a great opportunity for them to get fresh perspective on the industry sector and provide up-to-date information to interested students.


Celebrates Santa Cruz business + education partnerships


We are proud to support programs across Santa Cruz County. We are heavily involved in these beneficial programs run by our colleagues.


In cooperation with Cabrillo College we support the Santa Cruz County College Commitment (S4C) program. This countywide collaborative is comprised of public education institutions, including all K-12 School Districts, Cabrillo College, CSU Monterey Bay, San Jose State University (SJSU) and the University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC).

The partnership is aimed at getting every Santa Cruz County student college ready. Students experience college campuses beginning with a 4th grade visit to Cabrillo College where they interact with teachers in mini-workshops and other educational activities. Students continue to be introduced to institutions of higher learning as they move through middle and high schools with visits to the CSUMB and UCSC campuses.


Work4Youth is a partnership between local businesses, the Workforce Investment Board of Santa Cruz County and the Santa Cruz County Office of Education. The program provides work and training skills to vulnerable youth across Santa Cruz County. Each year, we help 100-200 students find summer jobs. Learn more at

Student Enterprise

Student lead business linking education to the workplace

This is an opportunity to be a part of a team of local students to develop a pop up business where education is applied to the real world.  Come learn about opportunities including business development, marketing, finance, networking, management, operations, event planning, technology and digital media.  Participation will lead to internship opportunities and paid positions.


Learn more