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    California State Secretary of Education Dave Long receives a plaque of appreciation from Janice DeBenedetti, state consultant to the Home Economics Careers and Technology program.

    (RIVERSIDE, Calif.) Home Economics Careers & Technology teachers serve important needs in our schools, according to California State Secretary of Education David Long.

    “I graduated from a small high school in Iowa, where every single person had to take Home Economics. We had no choice,” Long says. “Home economics courses are important now, more than ever.”

    The home economics course Long took in his own high school focused on cooking, and what he learned still comes in handy, he says. Since becoming the California State Secretary of Education in 2007, Long has lived alone four nights a week in Sacramento, while his wife stays at their home in Riverside County, working in her job as an elementary school principal.

    “My home economics teacher told me, for guys this course is called survival skills,” he said. “These days, I agree.”

    Had Long taken his one home economics course more recently, and in California, it would have done even more to prepare him for a successful future. Besides learning to cook for themselves, young men and women in introductory Home Economics Careers & Technology courses learn important life skills such as managing budgets, parenting and much more.

    These introductory classes also give students a glimpse into careers they could have in the industry. That’s why they’re known by the name of Home Economics Careers and Technology, rather than simply home economics.

    Home Economics Careers and Technology courses prepare students to work in three industry sectors: Hospitality, Tourism & Recreation (including Culinary Arts); Fashion & Interior Design; and Education, Child Development & Family Services. The courses, which focus on both leadership and career development, are offered in high schools, Regional Occupations Programs and some middle schools.

    In the 1970s, California began expanding its home economics courses, taking the focus beyond traditional homemaking. The program now has a dual focus. One program, Consumer and Family Studies, prepares students with personal and life management skills. The other, Home Economics Related Occupations, prepares students for high-skill, high-wage careers in the related industries.

    “That’s why what these teachers do is so important,” Long says. “I know that some people think that every child must go to college, but many students may choose to be trained to work in a great career, and Home Economics Careers and Technology is accomplishing that goal.”

    Long made these remarks to a group of teachers who were in Riverside for training in how to teach students to work in the growing hospitality, tourism and recreation industry. These teachers came from such diverse places as Bieber, a small town near the Oregon border, to South Central Los Angeles, and each of them hopes for their students to have jobs close to home in this industry.

    Janice DeBenedetti, state consultant for the Home Economics Careers and Technology program, said there are almost 900,000 jobs throughout the state in hospitality, tourism and recreation, and that it should grow nearly 5 percent each year through 2014.

    There are more than 750 schools offering Home Economics Careers and Technology courses. More than 300,000 students are enrolled in these classes throughout the state.

    For more information, call Janice DeBenedetti at (916) 323-5025.

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