Career Pathways & Entrepreneurship

In the world of local food systems, careers come in various shapes and sizes, like farming, public health, cooking, and teaching.
Two Hayward Unified School District students holding their EAROP certificates

The Career Pathways & Entrepreneurship working group explored what career opportunities in food, farming, and agritourism are currently available in Hayward and identified what it would take to build a strong foundation of educational resources and economic opportunity for the next generation of food economy careers and entrepreneurs.

Highlights & Opportunities

Forging meaningful opportunities for Hayward youth

The City and Hayward Unified School District co-created a paid internship pilot program for 8 HUSD student in the summer of 2023. Interns worked with Eden Area Regional Occupational Programs (EAROP's),, Mills College to get hands on experience as well as professional development skills. They worked on Tennyson High School’s farm, cultivated and tended to EAROP’s garden, worked on Mill’s College’s farm, and developed a gleaning network and webpage for Hayward with Youth broadened their knowledge on what it means to take part in their food system, and developed life skills in communication, team building, and work ethic. 

For this work, the City was presented the EAROP’s Business Partner of the Year Award and will continue to sponsor another year of this pilot program through the grant planning funds of the Food Action Plan. 

Partners seeking investments in educational programming and sustainable solutions

Compared to neighboring cities with more condensed nonprofit capacity, Hayward’s nonprofit groups addressing food and poverty are concentrated among a few. In the past, Hayward was able to host various successful coordinated efforts provided by the County like the former Project Eat which was managed by the County’s Department of Education and lead to the Tennyson Farm and Farm to Fork curriculum at Tennyson High.

However, due to political turnover and the unfortunate loss of champions dedicated to this work, the County is unable to coordinate these types of efforts. Also, Hayward does not have an obvious organization with the capacity or mission to sustain and lead this local coordination effort and to offer Hayward Community Based Organizatios technical support, resource sharing, and resilience planning.

What we else have we learned

Existing Assets

  • Tennyson High School recently launched a sustainable agriculture pathway called Farm 2 Fork which offers courses around food and sustainable growing. Courses include: Sustainable Agriculture Biology, Chemistry & Sustainable Agriculture, and Sustainable Agriculture Entrepreneurship. 
  • Eden Area ROP has a strong culinary pathway where students get state certified and professional experience while obtaining college credit. 
  • Chabot College has expressed interest in starting credit and non-credit courses focused on agriculture and culinary trades. Similarly, faculty members from Cal State East Bay are interested in partnering with Chabot College to identify student pathways to a four-year degree. 
  • The Alameda County’s Deputy Sheriff’s Activities League (DSAL) is investing in a Food Hub at the Stack Center to offer support and resources to small businesses and future entrepreneurs. 

Challenges and Gaps in Service

Due to the stress put on organizations during the pandemic, there is little to no capacity for existing staff to develop cohesive curriculum across agencies. 

The Council has raised the need to proactively address the number of unlicensed food vendors that have increased during the pandemic. However, there are few current solutions to help these vendors continue their livelihood legally.