May 4, 2001

Sweetwater District's Waterfront Academy Receives Regional Business Award

The Waterfront Academy—which allows Sweetwater district seniors to complete their education at the NASSCO shipyard—has been recognized as an innovative program.

The Greater San Diego Industry-Education Council honored Sweetwater Superintendent Dr. Ed Brand and NASSCO President Richard Vortmann for their unique school-to-career partnership. The award was given during the council's quarterly meeting held at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido April 25.

At the Waterfront Academy, specially-trained NASSCO employees and Sweetwater teachers work together to deliver a real-world educational program. During a six-hour day, students get hands-on instruction in such trades as electrical, machinery and ship-fitting from NASSCO employees certified by the Regional Occupational Program. Students also spend a portion of their day in NASSCO classrooms receiving academic instruction from Sweetwater district teachers.

The purpose of the program is for students to apply their academics to career paths in high-demand trades. Students completing the academy will also be eligible for paid internships and college reimbursement through NASSCO.

Tom Ybarrola, president of the industry-education council, praised Brand and Vortmann for creating such a unique program.

"This partnership between Sweetwater and NASSCO really helps bridge the gap between business and education, and benefits both organizations by helping create a well-trained workforce," Ybarrola said.

Board President Bob Griego also congratulated Brand and Vortmann on the award.

"Dr. Brand and Mr. Vort-mann worked together to build a very important program that reaches out to students looking for a non-traditional education," Griego said.

The academy is now entering its second year and currently is accepting applications from interested students. For an application, all the Sweetwater District ROP office at 619-691-5611.

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