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The farmers and ranchers of the Santa Maria region received updated details about what is planned for Santa Maria Joint Union High School District’s new Agricultural Education and Career Technical Centers during a meeting on Thursday night.

More than 70 members of the SMJUHSD’s Ag Advisory Committee attended the informational event inside a classroom and then enjoyed a FFA BBQ dinner at Righetti High School.

The centers will be built on 25-acres of property, which is north of the Elks Rodeo Grounds and east of Highway 101. The centers have the capacity to accommodate about 500 students. SMJUHSD has more than 2,000 FFA members at Righetti, Santa Maria and Pioneer Valley High Schools.

The presentation revealed artist renderings of the new campus including buildings, classrooms, entrances, animal pens, stalls, crop space, orchard space, workshops, parking, outdoor areas and other features. Construction of an ag pavilion was also discussed, but that will depend on additional funding.

Information was also given about the district’s recently acquired $2 million Career Technical Education Incentive Grant (CTEIG) to help high school students get career and college ready and the district teaming up with Hancock College and local industry leaders to create career pathways and courses.

Ag Advisory Committee Advisors had plenty of ideas for courses that would lead students into the agricultural and food-related workforce.

Teixeira Farms Manager Cliff Dugger believes any type of food handling certificate would help students transition.

“Courses in food safety, technology and robotics would be great,’’ Dugger said.

Miramar Western Ware and Feed’s Frank Ramirez agreed, adding “a little bit of everything from animals to crops” would definitely improve a young person’s chances of joining the workforce.

District CTE courses at Santa Maria, Righetti, Pioneer Valley and Delta high schools will all be connected to industry clusters including Arts, Media & Entertainment – Information & Communication Technologies – Energy, Environment & Utilities – Health Science & Medical Technology – Architecture & Engineering – Business & Finance – Manufacturing &

Product Development - Agriculture & Natural Resources – Hospitality, Recreation & Tourism and Public Service.

Superintendent Dr. Mark Richardson said one of the district’s top priorities is to take steps to ensure students have career pathways and courses available to improve their future opportunities.

“The future of agricultural and career technical education will make our students more marketable in the work force,’’ Dr. Richardson said. ‘’We are on a positive path. It’s very inspiring to me to be part of a team creating programs that benefit kids.’’

NONDISCRIMINATION POLICY: The Santa Maria Joint Union High School District is committed to ensuring equal, fair, and meaningful access to employment and education services. The SMJUHSD does not discriminate in any employment practice, education program, or educational activity on the basis and/or association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics of age, ancestry, color, disability, ethnicity, ethnic group identifications, gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, marital, family or parental status, medical condition, military or veteran status, nationality, national origin, immigration status, political affiliation, pregnancy and related conditions, race, religion, retaliation, sex (including sexual harassment), sexual orientation, or any other basis prohibited by California state and federal nondiscrimination laws respectively. Not all bases of discrimination will apply to both education services and employment. If you believe you have been subjected to discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying, immediately contact the District’s Discrimination, Equity and Title IX Compliance Officer Mr. Kevin R. Platt at 2560 Skyway Drive, Santa Maria, CA 93455, (805) 922-4573 or You may request a copy of SMJUHSD’s Uniform Complaint Procedures, Non-Discrimination Policies, Sexual Harassment Policies or click here.