Santa Barbara’s Beekeepers Association is launching a new paid internship: teaching at-risk teens the art of beekeeping. Working with Paul Cronshaw, a beekeeper of 40 years and faculty member at La Cuesta Continuing Education school, the plan is to offer five students $8 an hour to learn beekeeping at an after-school program dubbed “Sweet Start.” The program requires five hours a week and runs 16 weeks. Basic jobs skills will be taught, as well. The average age of most beekeepers throughout the United States is 65, explained Todd Bebb of the Beekeepers Association. “We need some young beekeepers out there,” he explained.
Bebb said the program would give prospective young beekeepers a good start, but he added that further mentoring would both be required and offered. He said there are jobs to be had in beekeeping, noting that three commercial operations exist on the South Coast. Bebb added he hoped some students would be entrepreneurially inspired by their new skills. Funding for the plan — backed by school superintendent David Cash — was provided in part by the Fund for Santa Barbara.