Luis Elizondo, a 2015 graduate of Apple Valley High School, was recently offered a fulltime position with Exquadrum, a research and development aerospace corporation specializing in the commercial and defense aerospace sectors, with an emphasis in rocket propulsion, and headquartered in the High Desert.
Eric Schmidt, President of Exquadrum, was impressed with the skills Elizondo had acquired through classes in AVHS’ precision machining program and first offered him a position just three months after graduation. Elizondo has worked part-time five days a week, while simultaneously completing a one-year training program at the National Tooling and Machining Association (NTMA). He is expected to transition to his fulltime position upon receiving his certificate in May.
Elizondo is just one of hundreds of students in the region who have been equipped with the credentials needed to enter the workforce immediately upon graduation, due to the efforts of The Mountain Desert Regional Career and Occupations Pathway Joint Power Authority (JPA).
The Mountain Desert Regional Career and Occupations Pathway JPA has worked regionally with business and industry to prepare students for college, careers and post-secondary training. The JPA was formed on the notion of collective impact and working together to create better economic and education opportunities for the region. Career pathways and specialized academies have been established within each of the JPA’s eleven school districts.
Apple Valley High School’s AVEX (Apple Valley’s Engineering Extension) Pathway was birthed after a tour of Exquadrum spawned the need for precision machining programs in the region’s high schools. After receiving a grant from San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools, the JPA worked with Schmidt and other community partners, to establish the pathway, which emphasizes physics and design, specifically through precision machining. Elizondo was one of the first students to complete courses within this program.
The Mountain Desert Regional Career and Occupations Pathway JPA is made up of Apple Valley Unified, Barstow Unified, Baker Unified, Bear Valley Unified, Hesperia Unified, Lucerne Valley Unified, Rim of the World Unified, Silver Valley Unified, Snowline Joint Unified, Trona Unified and Victor Valley Union High school districts.
The JPA offers career technical education in the following industry sectors:
Agriculture/Natural Resources; Arts, Media and Entertainment; Building Trades and Construction; Education, Child Development and Family; Energy and Utilities; Engineering and Design; Fashion and Interior Design; Finance and Business; Health Science and Medical Technology; Hospitality, Tourism and Recreation; Information Technology; Manufacturing/Product Development; Marketing, Sales and Service; Public Services; and Transportation.