State awards $15 million to education consortium led by Galt district

A consortium of high schools and colleges from Woodland to Merced has been awarded $15 million in state grants to help train students in agricultural science, agricultural mechanics and ornamental horticulture.

The consortium, led by the Galt Joint Union High School District, is among 40 programs statewide to receive a combined $244 million in grants from the state Department of Education to help train students for jobs in high-demand fields, such as health care, advanced manufacturing, information technology and software development.

Sonia Lasyone, chief business official for the Galt district, said the funds will be shared among 36 high schools from Woodland, Davis and campuses as far south as Merced. Cordova High School is among the beneficiaries, she added.

The state funds will be enhanced by contributions from the schools, local businesses and proceeds from county fairs, according to the grant application.

Lasyone said the consortium will hire two coordinators to work with campuses and assess their needs. Besides the high schools, participants include Cosumnes River College and community colleges in Modesto and Merced; UC Davis; California State University, Fresno; and California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo.