Linda Granger, Superintendent of the Eden Area Regional Occupational Program (EAROP) provided an excellent overview of the EAROP’s history, programs, and flexibility to market demand.  EAROP is celebrating 50 years of serving students in the Castro Valley, Hayward, San Leandro, and San Lorenzo Unified School Districts.  At one time, EAROP also served students in the New Haven USD.  Currently, there are 4,800 students enrolled in 20 programs on high school campuses and 13 programs at the Regional Occupation Center (ROC) located on Hesperian Blvd. across from Chabot College.  Since its founding, EAROP has served over 200,000 students.
Linda began with a brief history of EAROP, which started the former Marina High School in San Leandro USD.  Around 1988, the program moved to Castro Valley USD before moving to its current location in 1992.  As noted, the program currently serves four districts with Hayward USD joining in 1991.  The EAROP is funded by the four districts and the many grants that staff has generated.  Recently, EAROP has added fee-based courses for adults in the evening at the ROC, which generates revenue, but more importantly provides career education and training for adults entering the workforce and/or changing careers.
ROP courses are designed to provide students with workplace learning and experiences (i.e., career education) to prepare students for the world of world as well as post-secondary education.  Over the years, ROP courses have been redesigned in response to market demand.  Some courses like Careers in Education, Dental Assisting, Automotive, Construction, and Medical Assisting are longtime staples of the ROP program.  Over the years, courses like Drafting, Offset Printing, and Floral Design have been eliminated from the program.  One of the most significant changes in program is the fact that ROP courses are now approved for the University of California A-G Requirements so ROP is a pathway to college for many students.
Through the years, EAROP has provided many different services for students and the districts including Program Advisory, UC course approvals, Early College Credit, Grant Writing and Management, Work-based Learning, and Career Technical Education (CTE) for Adults. 
During the COVID-19 pandemic, EAROP is operating under the same guidelines as all school districts and coordinates its efforts with the four districts regarding distance and blended learning.  As a result, EAROP has transitioned to digital materials working with the professional career-based organizations such as National Center for Construction Education and Research and American Welding Society.  These professional organization have created many online learning modules and simulations that instructors are currently using to educate students.  These are the same learning experiences that workers in the profession are using, which is a great example of career learning for students.  Since most businesses are using Microsoft Teams, EAROP is using it to provide students with real life experience.  EAROP has focused on professional development for the staff with program on distance learning, culturally relevant instructional strategies, and career readiness and networking, all which benefit the students as well.
New opportunities include Work-Based Learning that includes four aspects:  (1) Virtual Internships; (2) Guest Speakers; (3) Business Panels; and (4) Job Shadow.  Linda stress that multiple pathways allow EAROP connect to any businesses of any size (e.g., Entrepreneurial pathway can connect to any small/large business; Auto Refinishing can work with small shops and large firms).  As Chris Carr explained in his Vocational Services Committee report (see next story), the Committee is working with EAROP in all four areas.   Last summer, Castro Valley students participated in 15 virtual internships (e.g., Todd Anglin at State Farm) and more are being planned this summer.  All members are encouraged to offer their expertise to these efforts.
Linda shared the following comments from student interns:
  • EBMUD Intern: I am so grateful for this opportunity. I have learned so much in a very short amount of time, and I can't wait to see how I will use it in the future.
  • OSIsoft Intern: The week was full of preparing for presentations: one for the company and the one on Thursday. I learned so much at OSIsoft.
  • Reflexicon Intern: This was an unforgettable experience that exposed me to the medical device industry and have me work alongside engineers. Coming from the HABIT pathway, I first thought that this will be difficult, however I was introduced to a new workplace with welcoming people who explained and exposed me to the engineering environment.
  • Sutter Health Intern: I was able to talk to some patients in Cantonese as well as listen to the live translator talk to patients. I made some lifelong connections with the nurses and my manager. Sometime in the near future, I plan to go back to the ED and continue learning
EAROP works with many large businesses in the Eden Area: Biocom, Amazon Web Services, Pulse Bisciences, Illumina, Plastikon, and the Port of Oakland.  President Gary thanked Linda for an excellent presentation and educating the members that Eden Area Regional Occupational Program truly offers programs for every student.
Click here to watch Linda's presentation.  Click here to view the PowerPoint slides.