In the three years since the creation of the Manufacturing, Engineering and Construction (MEC) Academy at Soquel High School, the program has reached its goal of providing comprehensive career training and college preparation. The program combines hands-on learning with academics, vocational skills and principles of professional integrity. All students begin with a two-year foundation in core academics and industrial arts; after their sophomore year, they choose their focus pathway (manufacturing, engineering/engineering technology or construction). Advanced courses in each of the pathways are offered both on-campus and through a cooperative relationship with Cabrillo College. Students completing the program are qualified to begin working in their chosen field or to enter college. The MEC program attracts students from throughout the County.
Today, as reported in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, the shop at Soquel High School used by the MEC and industrial arts courses is under-going a $1 million transformation to update equipment as well as plumbing and electrical systems. Included in the overhaul will be state of the art environmental systems to capture dust, fumes and waste. The makeover is funded by public school construction grant with a match from district facility funds. Smaller projects are also underway at the Harbor High School and Santa Cruz High School shops.