It has been 20-plus years since I ran for office. My reason for doing so was that the business group I was in at the time felt we had to get political. The issue, we felt, was a lack of job skills training at the high school level. The office I ran for was a spot on the Kern High School District Board. Being an unknown, I didn't win. Nevertheless, word was out about this need.

In a town where we complain about an unskilled labor force, why were we not creating one? I know the reasons why, and they were not about the students or our community's future. It was about money and lack of foresight.

Fast foreword to now, a new Regional Occupational Center is being built in the southwest! Finally, we're moving in the direction of economic diversification, building workforces that will attract major employers. Finally, we are serving those students with more options than college.

Yes, these type of classes cost more than college prep classes, but the return of that investment to our community is tenfold, as we lose a lot of college graduates to larger cities anyway.

This advancement makes me swell with pride for whoever made this monumental decision. Well done, and hats off the members of the Kern High School District.

Jennifer Cecero, Bakersfield