The San Mateo County Office of Education’s Regional Occupational Program is one of the best programs to prepare people for future vocations or exploring a broad range of occupations and training for careers, as indicated in the letter "Kill off adult education?” in the June 7 edition of the Daily Journal. In a time of high unemployment of teens and adults, this should be expanded and more internships should be offered toward the end of the student’s training. Unfortunately, the state government has scaled back the program so its primary emphasis is on high school students, substantially reducing adult enrollment. While I agree that high school students should be given top priority in the programs, there is still a major need for adult retraining.
In the past, students from San Mateo County who were enrolled in these vocational classes were strongly represented by adults who train alongside teens. The advantage of having a mixed enrollment will likely offer more maturity in the classroom, and learning a trade gives a person an opportunity to earn and save money, should they decide to go to college. Some of these classes offer transfer credits to our community colleges.
There seems to be an attitude in the county that our community colleges are competing with ROP programs. Some students are not ready for community college or need to be trained quickly to fill a need in the workforce. I recommend increases in adult enrollment, but ensure that high school students get first priority and increase the number of interns in the business community, with paid teacher oversight and outreach. Teachers should be paid to oversee their internship program. Class work should not have lengthy lectures but applied practice required, such as that found in a computerized accounting course where lectures represent theory; computer practice gives applied understanding in the presence of the teacher.