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Students get a look at area jobs
In collaboration with Stanislaus County Partners in Education, Manufacturer's Council and Alliance WorkNet, Ceres Unified School District held its first of two Careers and Manufacturing presentations on Feb. 7 at Central Valley High School.

Approximately 165 people attended the two-hour event, including 107 high schoolers. It started at 6:30 p.m.

"It was a huge success," said Mike Corsaut, Career Center Learning Director for CUSD. "What it does is it helps students find jobs after graduation."

Representatives from Frito Lay, Con Agra Foods, E.J. Gallo Winery and Hilmar Cheese gave brief overviews of what their companies have to offer.

"It seems pretty organized," said Central Valley High School senior Ernesto Plancarte.

Plancarte and his mother Araceli chatted with Gallo bottling room production supervisor and Ceres High graduate Chris Mendonca.

Con Agra Foods process improvement leader Rhonda Godbey fielded questions from Central Valley senior Vanessa Alvarez, who was surrounded by 10 other schoolmates.

Plancarte also talked with Hilmar Cheese human resources representative and recruiting support Sarah Mullen. He was accompanied by fellow classmate Tony Marques.

"These businesses are trying to reach out to graduating seniors to help fill their workforce," Corsaut said. "They'll pay for them to go to school (as part of the tuition reimbursement program) if they continue to work for them."

Eight 2007 Ceres High graduates were hired by Gallo after completing summer internships.

"These jobs are not dead-end jobs," Corsaut said. "They come with benefits after a 90-day probationary period. You make more than minimum wage."

Ceres Unified's second Careers and Manufacturing presentation will be held at Ceres High School on Feb. 28.