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The third of Manteca Unified’s three vocational academy programs, be.first, will have a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its new facilities on the district campus.

The event will be held Thursday, Oct. 30, from 6 to 6:30 p.m. for the district third offering – be.first, or First Responders Academy. An open house for school, the district’s vocational charter school, will also be held that evening.

The event is open to the public. The be.first plaza, as the facility is being called, is located on the district office campus.

Following the ribbon-cutting ceremony, guests will be given a tour of the’s three academies from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Information about all three different programs will be provided to visitors, plus an opportunity to view the students’ projects and classroom milieu.

The three academies are be.cuisine, the first of the three programs which opened three years ago, be.industrial, and be.first.

The district launched its first ever vocational academy three years ago, be.cuisine. Originally known as MUVA – Manteca Unified Vocational Academy –’s first offering was the culinary arts. The first group graduated in May 2014, with four of the graduates heading out to different prestigious culinary schools where they have been accepted.

The second vocational program to open was be.industrial which offers students education and skills training in welcing, metal fabrication using CAD programming, 3D printing and laser and plasma cutting, and project finishing work including the use of professional paint-booth.

The First Responder program introduces and teachers students to the function and protocols of the national, state, local and private emergency response systems, incident command system, and practicing basic personal and public safety skills in a setting that simulates the work place for first responders. academy is a two-year program for students in grades 11 and 12 – juniors and seniors. Students begin their students at the beginning of their junior year. While enrolled in, they are pursuing two diplomas at the same time – one, their high school diploma; and two, their diploma for the vocational training that they have completed.

Like any public school, students attending academy don’t have to pay any tuition fee. They don’t even have to pay for the certification tests that they need to take with the state. For example, students in the culinary arts program take the food-handling certificate test without paying the fee. Passing that certification test, which will facilitate their employment later on in the food industry, is part of the two-year curriculum.

The seeds of a vocational program aimed at district students who are not college-bound but are interested in being trained in vocational skills such as carpentry, welding, culinary arts, drafting, farming – among many others, have been pushed by Manuel Medeiros of the Board of Trustees for many years. A longtime farmer and dairyman, Medeiros is currently running for re-election as representative for Trustee Area #2. This would be his fifth term as a board member. He has also been a member of the Lathrop-Manteca Fire District Board of Directors for just as many years, if not longer.

The are open not only to students in Manteca Unified but to other qualified students living in San Joaquin County as well. Other interested students in neighboring counties are invited to the open house to learn more about the programs.

Classes are limited for each program, so early registration is always encouraged. Applications for the spring semester starting in January 2015 are now being accepted. Admission materials and forms, and other pertinent information about the program, are available online at