As a Director of Learning Development at RAFT (Resource Area for Teaching), 1994 Milpitas High School alumnus Eric Welker develops curriculum support materials such as project guides and hands-on activities for educators.
The 47-year-old, who attended Curtner Elementary and Thomas Russell Middle School prior to MHS, credits his education career pathway to “the rigorous science and math curricula teachers used in my years at these schools helped foster a passion for these subjects.”
Welker’s resume includes a BA-Biology, MA-Education and Single Subject Teaching Credential as well as teaching biology, chemistry and math at Silver Creek High School, Cupertino High School, and for Modesto City Schools and Stanislaus County Office of Education for about 12 years.
Currently in his 15th year with RAFT, Welker designs and facilitates teacher professional development workshops to increase teacher self-efficacy in STEAM education, focusing heavily on K-5 teacher support and coaching. He creates and implements several other programs and community projects that impact K-5 schools and districts.
His passion for science grew with inspiration from three Milpitas HS teachers: Mr. Walt Dable (life science); Mr. Fred Gareb (biology/zoology); and Mr. Bob Armstrong (chemistry). “From these teachers I learned how to explain and apply science concepts with enthusiasm and a sense of wonder, and good work ethics,” shared Welker, whose math prowess was nurtured by inspirational teachers: Mr. David Ivanetich (Algebra 2); Mr. Kelly King (Math A); and Mr. Andreoli (Algebra 1 and Geometry).
The father of six said his confidence grew from the MHS English and Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (NJROTC) programs, “From Mr. Weinstein and Mrs. Taggart, I learned to write and speak very well on any topic,” he shared. “I was in NJROTC all 4 years of high school and learned how to manage other people and lead them towards their own goals, and I lost a ton of weight and gained some muscle!”
Playing 4-square, tetherball, dodgeball and other recess/PE activities are some of his fondest memories of growing up in Milpitas and MUSD, where “my teachers while stern were also some of the kindest people I've known. They took the time to really get to know the students and treat them as emerging leaders.”
Welker, who still keeps in touch with many of his Milpitas schoolmates, wants the younger MUSD generations to treasure every moment in MUSD and shared, “My biggest piece of advice is to own your future and accept responsibility for the decisions (and their associated consequences) needed to get you there. Take risks, do fun activities in addition to working on academics, and find many avenues towards a blissful, fulfilled life.”
On Wednesday, June 8, 2023, the Milpitas City Council unanimously approved an American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Workforce Development grant of $30,000 to launch the Milpitas Adult Education (MAE) Career Training Center, which will ignite new workforce development opportunities for Milpitas residents.
“The success of our local economic growth is directly linked to the expansion of our adult education program,” said MUSD Superintendent Cheryl Jordan.”This aligns with MUSD Strategic Goal #3 to develop educational pathways that allow students to develop their passion in pursuit of their future careers. This grant affirms the City’s commitment to its residents who will benefit from the development of the MUSD Innovation Campus”
The Milpitas Unified School District currently serves over 12,500 preschool thru adult learners and is one of the largest employers of the city of Milpitas. MUSD’s adult education program provides academic classes for English Language Learners, high school credit recovery, GED, high school diploma, and other services to secondary school and adult students. The addition of the Career Training Center will be a key component of the programs and services to be offered at the new MUSD Innovation Campus. Phase I of the MUSD Innovation Campus will open Fall 2023.
According to Mayor Carmen Montano, "The Milpitas Adult Education (MAE) Career Training Center will play a crucial role in directly empowering our residents with the skills and knowledge needed for meaningful employment. It is a win-win situation for Milpitas as more qualified residents will attract more employers, leading to increased job opportunities and economic growth.”
Director Alex Andrade of the Economic Development & Trade Commission states, ”The Mayor and City Council recognize the economic importance of having Milpitas residents live, work and play in the city of Milpitas. Their approval to allocate a portion of ARPA funds for workforce development aligns with our Economic Development Strategy Action Plan and will increase employability of our local residents to Milpitas businesses post pandemic.”
MUSD Board President Chris Norwood adds: “Higher learning during/post high school looks very different from college graduation. It has a variety of twists and turns. We now have the ability to use our funds to further impact our local economy and adult education system. It is win-win for all adult residents.”
MAE Principal Giuliana Brahim also appreciates the approval from Milpitas City Council,”The Milpitas City Council has always attended Milpitas Unified School District events and talked about ways to collaborate on behalf of Milpitas residents. We all recognize there is work to be done to increase local resident employability in Milpitas and this is just the first step of many.”
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING:
The governing board of Milpitas Unified School District will hold a Public Hearing on Tuesday, June 28, 2022.