May 26: “Celebrate CTE”

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Santa Rosa, CA – The Santa Rosa Junior College (SRJC) Career & Technical Education (CTE) Department is hosting the second annual "Celebrate CTE," to honor students who complete their career certificates during the 2016-2017 academic year. The event will take place on Friday, May 26, 2017 at 5:00 p.m., on the John Surryhne Outdoor Stage of SRJC’s Santa Rosa campus.

The event will feature keynote speaker Paralympian motivational speaker and best selling author Josh Sundquist. He has spoken across the world to groups ranging from Fortune 500 companies to inner city public schools to the White House.

“This celebration acknowledges the hard work that our CTE students have done to accomplish their educational goals,” said Jerry Miller, Dean of CTE and Economic Development at SRJC.  “For years, SRJC has offered programs that lead to high-demand, high-wage, and middle-skill jobs. We are as committed as ever to offering the best education and training that meets industry needs at a fair and reasonable cost.” At SRJC, 51% of students are currently enrolled in CTE courses.

Celebrate CTE flyer

During the celebration, department deans will announce each certificate program. Program coordinators or faculty members, who will be seated with students, will award each student a commemorative pin designed by one of their peers.

SRJC will also honor Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa with the CTE Industry Champion Award. This award recognizes a business or individual who enhances career and technical education at Santa Rosa Junior College by contributing to the improvement, progress and advancement of CTE programs and students. Last year’s recipient was Tony Crabb, founder of the CTE Foundation Sonoma County. 

SRJC has over 130+ CTE programs and departments including:

  • Emergency Medical Technician
  • Automotive Technology
  • Police and Fire
  • Culinary Arts
  • Nursing
  • Child Development
  • Business

At the website, students can RSVP for the event, or find out more information about the event, and students can apply for their SRJC certificates.


Francisco Ramirez, 2016 SRJC CTE Graduate, Web Developer

Born and raised in a small village in Michoacan, Mexico, Francisco Ramirez entered the U.S. at 17 years old. After moving to Sonoma County, he found a job working in a vineyard. A few months later, a terrible car accident left him with several disabilities (loss of speech, inability to walk, and decreased hand movement).

With only an elementary school education due to his family’s poverty, Francisco yearned to continue his education with online classes. During the first year living in a nursing home, a facility employee encouraged him to search the SRJC website. He found the Disability Resources Department (DRD) and now credits Disability Specialists Dr. Nancy Chinn and Margaret Grayson for their guidance throughout his educational journey.

Francisco Ramirez with Dr. Frank Chong

“My disabilities didn’t stop me. I wished to bring myself forward and do the best I could with the life I had left. Thus, with the help of good people God put in my way, I went to college, earned my GED certificate, gained a scholarship, and studied towards a career so I could provide for myself in the future,” said Francisco.

With the help of a plastic wand attached to his baseball cap, he is able to type and use a computer. Francisco persevered to complete a CTE certificate last spring and now holds a Computer Studies: HTML Web Content Developer certificate.

Francisco added, “Jeffrey Diamond and Michael Starkey, the instructors from my last Web Development class, were very good in their work. Students got to work in groups creating and redesigning projects for clients, provided by the instructors.”

Today, Francisco earns his living as a freelance web developer. “I have learned to overcome many obstacles and worked hard to meet my goals. I am ready to work and do what I love to do — build great, intuitive, and versatile websites that would suit my customers and bring their business to the next level. My goal is to become one of the best website developers and designers in the world. I can see myself earning enough money to help my family get off their hardship life.”

Learn more about Francisco’s story on his website at


Joel Sandoval, 2016 SRJC CTE Graduate, Community Health Worker

Joel Sandoval

At a very young age, Joel Sandoval found a vocation and transformed it into a career helping the Latino community overcome barriers and prevent potential health issues.

After graduating from Petaluma High School in 2013, Joel wasn’t very excited about school yet, so he started working full-time. He soon realized that he needed a college degree or certification to pursue a career and returned to SRJC to take a career counseling class. The results showed that he had good skills to be a social worker, personal trainer, coach or counselor. He found the Community Health Worker one-year certificate program and decided to give it a try.

School quickly became fun for Joel and he wanted to learn all he could to help him understand people better. Soon after he started the program, he had the opportunity to begin an internship with Community Action Partnership (CAP) of Sonoma County. A few months later, Joel was hired as a Community Health Worker at CAP while still completing his Community Health Worker certificate.

The main program Joel works with is the WIC [1] Dental Days. He helps parents understand the process by educating them on the benefits of early dental care for their children. He fills out the dental records for patients, follows up with parents and clinics regarding treatment and makes it more comfortable both patients and parents. “I call myself the middleman or facilitator,” says Joel. “I’m connecting the families with the dentist. I try to do it in the most friendly and funny way I can.”

While he loves being a community health worker, Joel still aims to come back to the JC and fulfill his general education requirements for a degree. He hopes to work toward a university degree and build a future that may be in teaching Spanish, coaching athletic teams or another career through which he would help other people.


Additional Information about SRJC and California Career & Technical Education Certificate Programs

SRJC awards 3,900 certificates, the second highest number of certificates among community colleges in California.

 In California community colleges:

     CTE Graduation       Students who complete a CTE certificate in a California community college nearly double their pre-certificate earnings after five years in the workforce.

            44% of students who achieve a certificate earned $56,000 or more annually five years after completing their certificate

            24% of those who complete a certificate earned $79,000 or more annually five years after completing their certificate


2nd Annual Celebrate CTE

[1] The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC)