Guidelines not changing until after school ended has left many OUSD youth without activities this summer. Possibly that is why some students are enrolled in courses at the Peralta colleges. Or perhaps they are enrolled because Emiliano Sanchez of the Career Technical Education Department is committed to them. “I think there are about 200,” he says, when asked about the number of OUSD high school students enrolled in the CTE courses. Then he begins to name off the classes by memory from each campus. In addition to receiving college course credit, students are also able to receive stipends. Every Peralta college has at least one program.
Berkeley City and Merritt Colleges have the “I” programs; at Berkeley City, the courses focus on STEM and multimedia. The Merritt programs focus on various aspects of healthcare; the I-Care course provides CPR training, for example.
Laney College, the largest of the four Peralta colleges, has at least six: Engineering, Construction, Electric Bike, Journalism, and I-Create Arts will all have enrollments of 15-20 students each. But the most popular program on campus is Cosmetics. There are 45 high school students enrolled, and more want to participate. “We have made a commitment to purchase all of the essential products for our students, but it’s tough.” Aside from the actual cost of covering materials for all CTE courses, Emiliano laughs about how he is purchasing false eyelashes.
Some programs have been forced to go ‘hybrid,’ meaning that the coursework includes online and in-person classes. The challenge is that again, the guidelines haven’t caught up with the participation so there are limits to students in classrooms. The popular Auto Tech program, which introduces high school students to automotive maintenance and repair, had a waiting list weeks ago. Because of Covid, in-person classes that typically had 20 students have been cut in half. Emiliano praises Alameda College for doubling the number of in-person classes, and the switch to an every other day shop schedule until the guidelines change.