About 100 students from Palm Springs Unified School District’s high school academies will spend the morning learning about how to prepare for and maximize the benefits of internship, mentorship and job-shadowing opportunities at the third annual “Champions of Excellence” career training workshop at the Agua Caliente Resort and Spa on Tuesday, Nov. 6.

Produced by the Foundation for PSUSD and PSUSD’s Career Technical Education Department, the “workplace readiness”- themed morning workshop will feature representatives from local businesses who are interested in long-term sustainability for their business and the future workforce of the Coachella Valley. Goals are to maximize student internships to advance workplace productivity, redesign business and student expectations and develop student internship protocols.

The morning keynote speaker will be national youth-influencer Roy Juarez, Jr. Juarez, born and raised on the south side of San Antonio, Texas, faced obstacles that could have turned him into a negative statistic, but he found a way to overcome those challenges. Today Juarez is sought after as one of America’s premier speakers in youth development, experienced in working with at-risk youth, and as an advocate against youth homelessness. He has worked in over 18 states and 6 countries, sharing his message of perseverance and hope.

Each of the District’s high school Career Academies will also present an award to a local business that has been an outstanding resource and learning partner with students. This year’s honorees include: Gael Whetston of Desert Regional Medical Center; Maria Wren from SMaRT Education; Sharon Bolle from MeTEOR Education; photographer Lani Garfield; Lisa Morand from Desert Regional Medical Center; Andrew Starke from Palm Springs Power Baseball; Tim Martin of Caddyshack; Jules Buehler of North Shore Living Herb Farms; Andee Laskoe and Jeff Miraglia from the Greater Palm Springs Convention Bureau; Patrick Rawlings from Rawlings Custom Construction; and Phil Hoffman from Hoffman Steel and Fabrication.

Prior to the awards luncheon, the students and facilitators will convene in a “world café” style series of discussion groups addressing a range of workplace topics related to finding, securing and keeping a job in a career field of interest.

“It’s an honor for the District to be able to salute community members who have made notable and much-appreciated contributions to the furtherance of excellence in education in PSUSD — for mentoring, for serving as role models and outstanding leaders, and providing resources above and beyond the call of duty,” said Foundation Director Ellen Goodman.  But it’s equally great that we can combine these awards with a productive morning for our students, focused on the all-important subject of exactly how to enter our local workforce.  The day is a win-win experience for everyone concerned.”