Classroom Agribusiness


Four 7th and 8th grade Ventura County Environmental Horticulture and science classes had an exciting week with STEM-Ersion inspired lessons!  WEC 2017 STEM-Ersion alumnae, Steve Roth, Racquel Rodarte, Stephanie Grostick, and Nancy Kennedy teach Environmental Horticulture and science at Balboa Middle School in Ventura.  As part of these classes, students design and care for the school garden, raise trout, and study agriculture career opportunities.


In 2017,  all four Balboa Middle School teachers participated in the WEC's summer teacher Agriculture STEM-Ersion.  On day one of the program, teachers toured local ag businesses including Deardorff Family Farms , Houweling’s Tomatoes, and Mission Produce.  They learned about the multitude of careers in and the importance of agriculture in Ventura County.  During day two, Monsanto gave teachers project-based learning lessons to take back to the classroom to help them share what they learned from the STEM-Ersion experience. 


Inspired by Monsanto’s Farmer Game, the Balboa Middle School teachers created a lesson plan that challenged students to convince their classmates to buy a unique fruit or vegetable.  In part one of the lesson, students researched and discussed trends in agribusiness marketing - word choices, images, branding, etc.  Part two required the students to research the food they selected.  In part three, students designed an agribusiness ad and pitch that they presented to the class as part four of the project.


WEC President & CEO, Marybeth Jacobsen, visited Mr. Roth's classroom while the students were designing their ads.  She was impressed by the creativity, thoughtfulness, and artistic skills Mr. Roth's students demonstrated.  It was an impressive assignment and the students were clearly eager to make their ad the “best“.  One student proudly presented his ad for golden berries: "Golden Goodness": With these gold berries, you'll be rich in flavor!

Thanks to the STEM –Ersion alumnae at Balboa Middle School, there are some bright minds that are a bit more interested in careers in agriculture than they were just a week ago.  The WEC is proud to be a part of this story about training tomorrow's workforce today.


Examples of final ads Balboa Middle School Students made:

WEC at the Simi Community Council


Last week, WEC President & CEO, Marybeth Jacobsen, spoke before the Simi Valley Community Council about the Workforce Education Coalition and the important work that we are doing throughout the county.  The Community Council is a great place for leaders in the non-profit sector and volunteers to gather to cooperate to make the community a better place to live work.  We had a great time meeting leaders in service from Simi Valley and look forward to future partnerships!


CNC Routers for STEM Teachers


This week Alex Wulff, a STEM teacher at De Anza Academy of Technology and the Arts, joined the Manufacturing Guild X  to discuss his classroom and his plans for an exciting new project. 

Alex structures all of his classroom lessons around project-based learning.  His methods cause his students to become passionate and curious about science and technical skills.  His class has a waiting list and has inspired many female or low performing students to succeed in STEM.

Inspired by his teaching experience, Alex created a non-profit organization to instruct teachers to operate CNC routers, to build their own creations, and, hopefully, to take the machinery to the classroom in the fall. 

Alex’s project will make a difference to students, teachers and ultimately, Ventura County employers!  The WEC is excited to partner with Alex this summer for a Manufacturing STEM-Ersion which will immerse teachers in the manufacturing sector while Alex instructs them in CNC router operation.

If you would like to participate in the STEM-Ersion, please contact Marybeth Jacobsen at

IT Industry Framework

The IT Guild X  working group met today focus on the development of the IT Sector Skill Framework.  We made a lot of headway, clarifying how we will tackle this project in the short and long term.  Dr. Tiffany Morse and Dr. Alexandria Wright provided Guild members with wonderful insights into how educators can benefit from our work.  We are excited to see how this project, shaped by Guild X members, will influence the future of IT education in Ventura County!

If you are interested in joining the IT Guild X  to help us develop IT training within Ventura County, email Marybeth Jacobsen at or click the button below.  If you would like to see a living copy of the IT Framework, click on the button below.


Startup Camarillo


This past week a new chapter opened for our friends at Ventura County Community Foundation (“VCCF”).  Matter Labs hosted a week-long Startup Camarillo event; the week was filled with networking events, presentations, and info about local innovators. 

The big news is that VCCF is home to the new Pharos Center for Innovation!  There will be working spaces, networking programs, mentorship and educational opportunities, all at the VCCF building.

To learn more about the Pharos Center for Innovation and to get connected, visit its Facebook page by clicking on the button below.  You can also see a  detailed calendar for what  is happening in the local Startup community by clicking the Startup Camarillo button below.

2017 Closing Newsletter

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As 2017 draws to a close, the WEC's final Newsletter for the year has been distributed!  This quarter's issue includes a quick overview of the Guild X Movement, student programs and info on how you can get involved in the WEC's work to Build Tomorrow's Workforce Today!

This newsletter also includes a special request.  We invite our business partners and friends to consider including the WEC in your year-end giving.  The generosity of friends like you will allow the WEC to continue and expand the Guild X Movement, as well as our student and teacher programs.

#GivingTuesday 2017!

The WEC is an action-driven, business-facing, non-profit organization.  Since its inception in 2014, as a provider of student and teacher industry immersions, the WEC has grown to become a robust voice in support of industry's need for a skilled regional workforce. Through the Guild X Movement, the WEC has built partnerships between education and industry that will help create the workforce that Ventura County's success demands.

Please give now to support our work and help us Build Tomorrow's Workforce Today!

IT and the WEC

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This past week has been an exciting time for the WEC in IT!  On Tuesday, the IT Guild X met and began work on a framework to organize and better understand IT careers in Ventura County.  Guild Co-Chair, Kevin Kehoe, from Saalex, created the framework outline.  If you would like to add your thoughts to the project, please contact Marybeth Jacobsen at  Ultimately, the framework will be used to work with educators in developing curriculum.

In addition, the IT Entree to Employment Dinner was this week!  We had many new industry partners participate and are excited to invite you all to the January 16, IT Guild X  meeting.  The dinner was  transformative for our students! 

Thanks to everyone who participated in our November IT events!  The WEC could not accomplish its goals without you.  If you would like to participate in one of the Entree to Employment dinners, co-hosted with the Ventura County Office of Education, or to attend a Guild meeting, please click on the buttons below.

Guild X on KadyTV

Dr. Alexandria Wright, Director of Economic and Workforce Development for Ventura County Community College District, presented the results of her IT sector research to the IT Guild.  This report contains vital information about IT sector jobs in Ventura County.

We are delighted to be able to share this  Guild X meeting with you. Many thanks to IT Guild X member, Bob Allen of KadyTV for making this video possible.  

Please consider attending  an upcoming Guild X meeting.  The work of the WEC's Guilds cannot be achieved without the participation of local industry representatives.  Guild meeting details can be found on the WEC calendar or on the Guild X webpage by clicking on the buttons below. 

STEM-Ersion Teacher's Classroom

Teacher Kim Brown from CAPE Charter School attended the WEC's 2017  Agriculture STEM-Ersion and 2016 Biotech STEM-Ersion.   Drawing upon the project based learning lessons provided in the STEM-Ersions, her students built a DNA helix using marshmallows. Next,  the  class extracted DNA from their cheeks to see how DNA is removed from cells for use in a laboratory. The students were amazed at how easy it is to pull DNA from their own cells! 

We are delighted to see STEM-Ersion lessons introduced into the classroom.  STEM-Ersion teacher immersion programs are designed to give educators the opportunity to see what they teach at work in industry.  The STEM-Ersion also provides teachers with ideas and materials for project based learning lessons that get students excited about science and interested in STEM careers .

Click on the buttons below to learn more about teacher STEM-Ersions and to access resources to implement similar project-based learning lessons in your classroom. 

Cybersecurity Symposium

Doing What Matters  hosted the South Central Coast Region's Cybersecurity Symposium to educate employers on the multitude of online threats facing businesses today.  Keynote speakers, Bob Kalka, VP of IBM Security Business Unit, and Kim Pease, Co-Founder and VP of Citadel Information Group provided a great overview of, insight into, and advice for protection from cyber threats. Speakers also provided insights on educational needs in cybersecurity.  A huge thank you to the presenters and hosts for putting together this day for industry!  Cybersecurity is a serious topic that affects all of us and is a vital security measure for every industry to understand in the 21st century workplace.


Meetup of Meetups

Our friends at Matter-Labs, Erick and Bryan Went, hosted a "Meetup of Meetups" last week at VCCF in Camarillo.  It was a great opportunity for networking groups throughout Ventura County to connect and to learn what is available in the county.  The WEC attended and connected with some great local Meet-Up group representatives.  We are excited to see how many innovative get-togethers there are in the area!


Rotary Awards Grant to the WEC

The WEC was delighted this morning to be one of Simi Valley Sunrise Rotary Club's grant recipients!  What a great honor for the WEC to be recognized by such an active, positive group of community leaders.  We are excited for the opportunity that the grant gives us to expand the Laptop Advantage program!

To find out how you can help the WEC Build Tomorrow's Workforce Today, click on the button below.


Pepperdine Symposium Encouraging Women to Assume Leadership

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Yesterday, WEC President & CEO, Marybeth Jacobsen, was joined by WEC Board Member, Caroline Gibson, at Pepperdine's Women in Policy and Politics Symposium hosted by the Pepperdine School of Public Policy and Center for Women in Leadership.

It was a phenomenal day that kicked off with a discussion between Charity Wallace (President & Founder of Wallace Global Impact) and Julia Ormond (Founder & Principal of ASSET Campaign).  The conversation focused on the creation of ASSET and Julia's passion for eradicating human trafficking.  She shared lessons and advice that can greatly benefit women working in the non-profit world.

The balance of the day was filled with insightful panel discussions and audience Q&As.  Panelists included NGO professionals: Montse Alvarado, Sally Pipes, Kathleen Schafer, and Michele Siqueiros; government agency professionals: Ingrid Hardy, Jeannette Pelayo, Sahar Shirazi, and Lindsay Young; and elected officials: Supervisor Kathryn Barger, Criminal Justice Commissioner Angela Underwood-Jacobs, Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, Councilwoman Alicia Weintraub, and Supervisor Michelle Steel.

These discussions reminded us of the importance of encouraging young women to chase ambitious dreams and provide them with the tools needed to be powerful and successful in "a man's world".  Every panelist noted a gender gap within their industry and the important differences women can make in the workplace.  This is why programs, like the STEM-Equity tour, are so important.  In the 21st century, our girls have the opportunity to pursue traditionally male-dominated professions, flourish, and make the world a better place.  The WEC is proud to be a part of the solution and to encourage Ventura County girls to close the gender gap, pursue STEM professions, and leave their mark on the world.

A huge thank you to Pepperdine and all the presenters for such a great event!

First Entrée Dinner!

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Last night VC Innovates, Doing What Matters, and the WEC hosted the first Entrée to Employment dinner of the season!  This month's theme was Business, Marketing, and Finance.  A huge thank you to all of our business partners who took the evening to meet with Ventura County students and talk to them.

It was a great night filled with fantastic food and opportunities for our students.  If you are interested in participating in a future Entrée to Employment dinner, or would like to learn more about the series, click on the button below.

Manufacturing Guild meets at HaasTech 2017



Many thanks to Haas Automation for opening HaasTech 2017 to the WEC's October Manufacturing Guild meeting.  The meeting started with an excellent presentation by Montez King, Exec Director of NIMS.  Montez shared the value of NIMS competency based credentials to manufacturers' perpetual search for a skilled workforce. 

Following the Guild meeting, we enjoyed a behind the scenes tour of the Haas plant and the opportunity to speak with suppliers of the latest products for probing, tooling, chip conveyor, software, work holding, CAM, and more.

Thank you Haas for a great morning for Ventura County manufacturers.