Growing up in West Long Beach, Mario Ernesto Gonzalez always knew he wanted to give back. Today he does just that in his capacity as manager of Community Relations for the Port of Long Beach.
Recently he found another way to give back, by joining LBUSD school bonds Citizens’ Oversight Committee, which monitors and reports on financial management of Measures K and E.
"As a lifelong resident of Long Beach and a graduate of LBUSD schools, I am truly invested in making sure students have the best educational environment possible," he said.
The Millikan High School graduate is one of four children of Mexican immigrants who strongly emphasized education, family and public service.
After graduating from Cal State Long Beach with a bachelor’s degree in health science, Gonzalez earned a master’s degree in public policy and administration in 2009.
He also holds a graduate certificate in urban executive management and a public relations certificate from UCLA.
Gonzalez, who is fluent in English and Spanish, leads a team of professionals and interns in outreach efforts at the port, including staffing education programs, environmental initiatives and community events. He also promotes the port through social and news media.
He helped launch a career education program with Cabrillo High School, which has introduced 500 students to careers in various professions connected with the Port of Long Beach. By matching students with working mentors, the program offers onsite learning opportunities.
Gonzalez is responsible for a paid summer internship program open to all high school students in Long Beach. Each year, 25 interns are selected out of a field of about 400 candidates to receive on-the-job training in a variety of fields.
"With all these educational programs, our goal is to help prepare students for higher education or jobs out of high school at the port or similar venues," said Gonzalez. "We also facilitate ties with Long Beach City College and trade unions so students can get a leg up when it comes to good-paying jobs when they graduate."
Gonzalez joined the port staff in 2009, serving as a senior community relations specialist until his promotion to manager in 2015. He previously worked with the City of Long Beach’s Preventive Health Bureau as a health educator.
Gonzalez is a member of the Public Relations Society of America, Los Angeles and Orange County Chapters, and the Los Angeles Chapter of the American Society of Public Administration.
He serves on the board of directors of the Gay and Lesbian Center and Centro C.H.A.