EL MONTE – Two of El Monte’s longest-running businesses recently opened their doors to El Monte Union students interested in pursuing highly-skilled vocational employment, part of a series of field trips organized by El Monte Union’s Career Technical Education (CTE) division to offer students a real-life glimpse into the subjects they are studying.

Longo Toyota and Precision Coil Spring – both in operation for over 50 years – provided students with tours of their facilities and reviewed the variety of high-paying technical and administrative positions available. Students also met with former El Monte Union students who are now employed by the companies, including a Ledesma High School graduate who started as a car wash valet and worked his way through the ranks to become Longo’s Used Car Service Manager.

“I want to know what engineers do and this field trip showed me there are great options in mechanical and electrical engineering,” said Arroyo High School senior Jeremy Leos, who visited Precision Coil Spring in October. “Having CTE courses at our schools is a great way to engage students and lets them take classes in subjects they’re interested in. If they like it, they’ll want to do it.”

These field trips are among many that students take year-round as part of El Monte Union’s CTE and practical training programs, which enable students to explore a variety of competitive and lucrative professions in fields such as business and finance, computer science, culinary arts, television production, education, medical, and engineering, design and architecture, among others.

The District works extensively with community businesses and organizations – including THINK Together, Longo Toyota and Union Bank – to provide students with hands-on experience, mentorship and knowledge of what it takes to be successful in college and careers.

“El Monte Union offers nearly two dozen career pathways that connect our students to a diverse range of professional industries,” said Hillary Wolfe, director of research and curriculum at EMUHSD. “These field trips allow our kids to get a glimpse of what it takes to run and staff a business, and meet with successful entrepreneurs and their employees.”

EMUHSD is enhancing its CTE program and curriculum with the expertise of teachers, administrators, local business owners and community college representatives who constitute a new CTE advisory board. Members will strategize how to best revamp the program to provide students the training and skills to be successful in college and fit employers’ needs.

“We know that El Monte businesses are eager to recruit El Monte Union graduates, so we want to be more proactive in developing partnerships,” Wolfe said. “We are also soliciting ideas from our teachers and channeling the diversity of their work experience to develop the pathways that will have the most economic impact within the community.”

During Precision Coil Spring’s “Manufacturers Day,” students examined state-of-the-art equipment, met the owner and learned about the jobs available in manufacturing and engineering. At Longo Toyota – which employs over 800 workers – EMUHSD students toured the dealership and met members of various departments.

“El Monte Union is committed to preparing every student for post-secondary success and developing talent pools for industries both within and beyond the El Monte community,” EMUHSD Superintendent Dr. Edward Zuniga said. “Our CTE curriculum, aligned with California Standards, ensures that our students are college and career ready, and we are proud to work in partnership with our teachers to engage and challenge our students through innovative pathways.”


111417_EMUHSD_CTE1: Arroyo High School students examine state-of-the-art machinery during a field trip to Precision Coil Spring in El Monte on Oct. 17, part of a District effort to give El Monte Union students a chance to meet with local entrepreneurs and discover lucrative career opportunities in their own community.

111417_EMUHSD_CTE2: Rosemead High School students make pastries as part of the school’s culinary arts program, one of several career technical education pathways offered at El Monte Union. The District has formed a CTE Advisory Board to expand and bolster CTE programs with the input of community stakeholders.