ATWATER, Calif. (KFSN) --A new state of the art greenhouse, new tractors, and new tables. The Atwater High School Agriculture Department is getting a much needed upgrade.
The school received about $350,000 from a one-time competitive grant through the California Career Pathways Trust. Its purpose was for schools and community colleges to create and establish career pathway programs for students to get exposed to, or pursue as a job in the future.
In Atwater High, the money went to three agriculture paths.
"There's agro science pathway for all the science, there's the ag mechanics for the shop pathway, and then there's ornamental horticulture pathway," said Dave Gossman, Agriculture Department Chair.
The new upgrades benefit the hundreds of students in the program, including senior Jasmine Flores who wants to pursue agriculture as a career.
"I've always had an interest in being an ag teacher. There is such a huge shortage of ag teachers and I want to make sure students have the opportunity to get a career in ag education."
Gossman said the greenhouse has not been fixed in decades, and the $100,000 renovation was much needed. He said the goal is to give students hands-on experience using the same equipment used in the agriculture industry, as well as allowing them to look and try out all their options.
"When they see things that interest them they learn, 'what do I need to do to get to that career?' For many of them it's college or degree, for many of them its job training, for many it's certification."
Gossman said students can also gain skills that are industry certified. He said this program is more than just learning about agriculture, it is to help all the students in it grow as individuals.
"If they can graduate with some direction and confidence, the rest will take care of itself. Whether they go on to college or trade school or the military."