During my swearing in ceremony in 2018, I declared a “State of Emergency in Education” for the City of Fontana.

This issue is still so important to the future of this community. Our youth are the foundation of our future. It is our youth that will advance current technologies, education and the development of our community.

It was with that in mind that I developed the Fontana Mayor’s Education Coalition, bringing together educators, business leaders and community stakeholders to discuss ways we can work together to improve educational outcomes for our students and better prepare them for career opportunities — including career opportunities within our own city.

Fontana is home to a dynamic economy — one that will continue to grow with the support of a strong talent pool.

We’re also uniquely situated as a supply chain hub – making and transporting the products and goods America needs, and, in the process, creating promising new employment opportunities for our residents.

Cities such as ours with a highly developed supply chain infrastructure (modern interstate highway system, vast railroad network numerous ports and airports) not only are able to support our nation’s economy but are able to improve the quality of life within their communities.

But all of this means nothing if we don’t tackle the employee shortage and lack of skills training to facilitate this great demand.

Now more than ever is the time for education and business to come together. This collaboration will make a significant difference in how we move Fontana and our region forward.

We are working on building bridges between our school and our companies. Several community partners have expressed an interest in providing internships and apprenticeships to give students real-world experience that could lead to full-time employment.

In addition, we are working with our schools and business community to establish real career pathways for students to ensure they have the skill set upon graduation to fill the available jobs.

Which brings us back to the Fontana Mayor’s Education Coalition, and a career program we’re thrilled to be launching. It’s called “Planes, Trains and Autonomous Vehicles,” and will provide a cohort of 40 Fontana high school students an introduction to careers in transportation — from logistics to emerging vehicle technology to transit and aviation.

The students will gather over five consecutive Saturdays in October, and hear presentations from the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority, BNSF Railway, Union Pacific, Ontario International Airport, Chaffey College and others.

These valued business partners provide a wide variety of jobs and advancement opportunities, from entry level to senior management.

High school students from Fontana Unified School District, the Chaffey Joint Union High School District (specifically, Etiwanda High School) and the Colton Unified School District are participating.

If you are a student, or a parent of a student, and are interested in participating, please contact your school or email PIO@fontana.org

In the meantime, I would like to thank all of our partners, including the Fontana Chamber of Commerce, for developing this program and introducing our next generation to great career opportunities ahead.

(Acquanetta Warren is the mayor of Fontana.)

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