Sheila Thornton says of building the next generation workforce in the Coachella Valley: "It changes the quality of this place and the capacity of this place to thrive in the long term.”
PHOTOGRAPH AND VIDEO BY ETHAN KAMINSKY PRODUCTIONS
A famous song lyric tells us that children are the future and it’s a message that OneFuture Coachella Valley believes in. The nonprofit’s mission, says CEO Sheila Thornton, is to cultivate the next-generation workforce from within our own student population. “We produce a high-quality workforce,” she says, “and give local students an opportunity to be able to take the jobs that exist right now and will exist in the future in the Coachella Valley.”
To this end, Thornton’s organization brings together a wide network of regional educational institutions, businesses, cities, and nonprofits to assure students have the education and skills to perform, succeed, and contribute to the community and economy. “Our partners provide internships to students who are in career academies throughout the valley’s three public school districts as well as some full-time and paid internships for undergraduates during the summer. All of these are necessary components of a student’s pathway,” says Thornton.
Besides being gratifying work, it’s the right thing to do, Thornton says. “It actually benefits every single one of us. It changes the quality of this place and the capacity of this place to thrive in the long term.”
VIDEO: Sheila Thornton chats about the steps it takes to build a next-generation workforce in the Coachella Valley.