SLO Partners Taking the Lead in Creating Upskilling Opportunities for Local Workforce

[San Luis Obispo, April 15, 2020] Current economic challenges could lead to an increase of locals going back to school to pursue a career shift or wait out the downturn. The United States Census Bureau reported that the last recession saw a 33 percent increase in enrollment in two-year colleges from 2006 to 2011. Economic instability can lead people to consider new career paths which are more aligned with their interests and passions, and acquiring new skills helps them pursue these. Going back to school can also be a way to constructively wait out the economic slump. 

Local nonprofit SLO Partners supports those looking for new career opportunities by training them with skills in demand by local businesses. “We are currently working with multiple organizations and county leaders to create opportunities for the local workforce,” said Paula Mathias Fryer, Program Director at SLO Partners. “We will continue to add value and invest in our community and economy by upskilling and enriching skill sets for our local workforce and businesses. Our programs provide training that  bridges the skills gap in key business areas, which is an important component for keeping local businesses strong and relevant.” 

They currently have two boot camps’ starting in June that will provide training for two ‘staples’ of the economy – technology and manufacturing. The programs can serve as a relatively quick way to acquire a new skill set or pursue a passion. Computer science is one of the most in-demand professions, which means graduates of the Ticket into Tech program can gain access to employment opportunities both locally, nationally and even internationally. In current times where remote work is more common and sometimes required, this career also offers the ability to easily work from home in a growing field that provides many digital collaboration capabilities. SLO Partners is offering partial scholarships to women interested in the program. Ticket into Precision Manufacturing graduates will also have the opportunity to work in an industry that throughout history has been the backbone of our economy. It continues to play a vital role today, in producing essential medical supplies and equipment to those on the front lines treating COVID-19 patients. 

Marlena Lewis, graduate of the Ticket into Precision Manufacturing program said: “All of the positions I was qualified for either weren’t hiring, weren’t willing to pay more than the minimum wage, or had no career path. I’m really thankful that SLO Partners exists. It’s really needed in this area as a lot of people love it but struggle to stay.” 

Both programs are part time. Ticket into Tech is a 30-week online program, in partnership with Cal Poly Extended Education. Ticket into Precision Manufacturing is a 10-week program. Both start June 15 and will have graduates ready to hire in December. No prior experience is required to enroll and the deadline for applications is June 1. For those interested in learning more, Slo Partners is holding virtual info sessions about Ticket into Tech on April 22 and May 6, and Ticket into Precision Manufacturing on May 5. Dozens of local businesses including Amazon, Gaine Technology and Trust Automation have hired graduates of the programs. 

Businesses interested in hiring graduates can contact Paula Fryer directly at [email protected]. Those interested in learning more can sign up to attend the info session here and apply to the program and scholarships at   


About Ticket into Tech

The Ticket into Tech Apprenticeship Program is designed to help hands-on problem solvers, who may or may not have previous tech experience, enter a new career path through an accelerated training bootcamp, connect with growing companies and receive post-hire support.

The program is provided through a partnership between SLO Partners and Cal Poly Extended Education Coding Bootcamp. The program’s goal is to create head of household careers in the tech industry through apprenticeship in the local community.

About Ticket into Precision Manufacturing

SLO Partners’ Ticket to Precision Manufacturing apprenticeship program is designed to help hands-on problem solvers enter a new career path through an accelerated training bootcamp, connections to growing companies, and post-hire support.

About SLO Partners

SLO Partners’ mission is to engage business partners and educators in aligning workforce needs with career and college pathways that provide work experience opportunities to ensure that students have the skills and knowledge necessary for success in the workplace and businesses have the skilled workers required for a sound growing economy. SLO Partners was formed in 2014 as an initiative of the San Luis Obispo County Office of Education to address college and career readiness among the county’s population. SLO Partners has over 100 Apprentices working in SLO County in tech and manufacturing with a $4M annual impact to the local economy.