Marin ROP open for interested students

Lucy Tantum

The Marin Regional Occupational Program, or ROP, provides vocational classes and internships to students interested in doing more hands-on learning.

ROP classes, which are offered at public high schools around Marin, range from video production to mechanics to cooking. Students can now sign up for spring-semester ROP classes in the College and Career Center.

Redwood offers a ROP construction technology class every spring, taught by contractor Tom Eller. The class, which takes place on Wednesday nights, begins in January and is open to the public.

According to Dan Zaich, the director of ROP and school-to-career partnerships, the classes are helpful for future careers.

“We cover just about all of the different career pathways that are in high demand,” he said. “For example, if you’re going to college to study architecture, I would recommend taking a ROP architecture class.”

According to Eller, ROP classes are valuable because they teach skills that can be transferred into everyday life.

“I look at it as life skills,” he said. “We do a lot of tool work, we use power tools and drills and hammers and nails, and these are all things that the students can take beyond the class to work at their own house.”

The ROP classes can be taken for UC credit and are recognized by community colleges. The classes are free for high school students, and they are also available for adults.

Eller describes the ROP construction technology class as an introduction to house construction. Participants build sheds and send them to nonprofit organizations.

“If they don’t get into construction, with those skills they can grab a saw at any time, or put a shelf up, or build a fence, because of skills they had in the class,” he said.

Both Zaich and Eller stressed how ROP classes can apply to the lives of many different students, no matter what career they are considering.

“The instructors that I have make sure that everyone is on time and that they have their tools ready,” Eller said. “Those kinds of job skills, ethics skills, are important as far as being able to move on in life.”

The Marin ROP works closely with the College and Career Center to give students internships and jobs in different disciplines.

“Regardless of whether they’re going to college or not, it’s important for students to identify their interests and explore work-based opportunities based on these interests,” Zaich said. “The school-to-career partnership provides internships to students across the county.”

Eller said that, upon completion of the Construction Technology class, he often finds internships and jobs for students if they have an interest in working as a contractor.