Celebrating CAWEE's 50th Anniversary
Bridging School to Career


CAWEE President 1985-1986

Bill Mathiasen

What were the challenges you faced as a member of and as president of CAWEE?

In the twenty years before 1985, CAWEE developed structure based on contributions from the California Secondary and Community College Work Experience Education and Cooperative Work Experience Education (CO-OP) coordinators best practices.

Beginning in 1985, the California legislatures and governor’s office decided they should be our school board! Therefore, CAWEE needed a paid advocate (Susan Stuart), peer inservice training, a issuing work permit statute, and curriculum development. These completed tasks resulted in every
California Secondary WEE program getting inservice training. Due to the Chancellors Advisory Committee recommendations. The Community College CO-OP Management Handbook was written (I was fortunate to a co-author) and provided in-services to all 110 Community College Campuses.
This proactive action enhanced “Its more than employment - it’s an Education.”

The CAWEE Board, Membership, California Department of Education (CDE), and the Chancellors Office defeated the challenges by bulding a solid organization which earned and gained the respect of Sacramento! The movement served as the basis for building a state-wide structure which attained and retained quality, accountability, respect, and growth serving the student population of Callifornia. The effort took six years to build with each CAWEE member contributing time and money while providing excellent opportunitties for students to learn at the worksite and through related instruction to reach their full potential!

What interesting memories do you have of your CAWEE experiences at conferences, meetings, etc?

Memories from my years with CAWEE as an advocate, president-elect, president, past president, and most importantly as a life member, which included co-author of The Work Experience Education Instructional Guide and Teachers Manual. Also making presentations at conferences, school sites - secondary and community colleges, as well as to school boards and legislative committees.
At these presentations, I in-serviced the knowledges, techniques, and experiences I learned from our fellow CAWEE members. The methodologies they shared with me were the essence of my student instruction and the basis of my in-service presentations/writings.

During my time as CAWEE president we collaborated with the CO-OP Division of the American Vocational Association (AVA) for our conferences, which provided us the opportunity to work with coordinators from all fifty states. These conferences increased our vision and provided enjoyable sharing of information. Fellow members of CAWEE and their positive sharing with me - that’s the memory foremost when I think of CAWEE - Thank you CAWEE members past and present!

What have you been doing since leaving CAWEE?

I always felt I never left CAWEE, as many members I served with still often communicate with me. I have many, many memories of those years in companionship with the membership! After finishing my Secondary, Juvenile Court School and Community College work experience education careers, I continued to be employed in film and photography. I am currently involved in projects which include film/photography with my granddaughter and grandson - who are both university students.

Thank you all for inviting me to be involved in celebrating 50 years of CAWEE. CAWEE opened the door to the universe for me... and my students.