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KCCD grant will help Cerro Coso students complete health careers
October 04, 2011
Kern Community College District (KCCD) will receive $5 million of a $20 million grant to train Bakersfield College, Porterville College, and Cerro Coso Community College students for high-demand health careers jobs, KCCD Chancellor Sandra Serrano announced today.
KCCD colleges won the grant in collaboration with a consortium of California community colleges. The Central California Community College Consortium, led by West Hills Community College District, submitted the only grant proposal to be funded in California. The three-year, $20 million grant is part of $500 million in grant funds to community colleges around the country. The grant monies support partnerships between community colleges and employers to develop programs that provide educational pathways to readily available, high-paying jobs.
Cerro Coso's estimated $1.5 million dollar share of this grant will be allocated to increase health careers course offerings at all campuses; develop a new health careers program in Certified Medical Assistant; build specialized basic skills courses to help students succeed; increase student services geared for retention in career counseling, tutoring, and job placement services; and purchase state-of-the-art lab equipment.
Cerro Coso Community College currently offers students a career pathway in healthcare by providing course offerings beginning with Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), and Home Health Aide, both prerequisites for the Licensed Vocational Nursing (LVN) training offered in Ridgecrest and at the Eastern Sierra College Center in Bishop and Mammoth Lakes. These courses are designed to lead students to completion certificates and/or degrees identifying them as being qualified to work in a variety of capacities within the health care field.
"This grant will provide Cerro Coso with the resources we need to expand our health career offerings and could lead to an LVN program at the Cerro Coso Kern River Valley campus in the near future," stated Valerie Karnes, Dean of Career Technical Education at Cerro Coso. "The funds will assist us in equipping an interactive television classroom in KRV, hire supplemental instructors, and purchase simulation equip for nursing skills labs at all sites," said Karnes. "Healthcare occupations make up 10 of the 20 fastest growing occupations in the United States. This grant affords Cerro Coso an incredible opportunity to meet the increased needs for skilled workers in the healthcare profession that offers students interesting career options," she concluded.
KCCD colleges will receive one-fourth of the funds allotted to the 11 colleges and one educational center in the Central California Community College Consortium.
Bakersfield College, Porterville College and Cerro Coso Community College join in the consortium Taft College, West Hills Community College's Lemoore and Coalinga campuses, Fresno City College, State Center Community College District's Madera Center, Reedley College, Merced College, San Joaquin Delta College, and College of the Sequoias. The Central California Community College Consortium submitted its grant proposal organizing around a shared vision of systemic redesign and acceleration strategies to significantly increase student completion of certificates and degrees with value in the labor market.
"Our proposal looked at how students are moving through our system and identified ways to advance students' successful progress to completion," Serrano said. "Our strategy is to help students stay in school, finish courses successfully, and reduce the amount of time it takes them to complete a certificate or degree. The sooner students complete their education, the sooner they are ready to enter the workforce and improve our local economies."
"This grant is a great example of KCCD's commitment to student success and developing programs that provide certifications and skills that give our students a competitive edge in today's workforce. As a rural community college, Cerro Coso provides education and training to meet the workforce needs of the remote locations we serve which brings opportunities for greater economic prosperity." - Jill Board, President of Cerro Coso Community College.
Kern Community College District, headquartered in Bakersfield, California, is one of the nation's geographically largest community college districts, with a service area of nearly 25,000 square miles. KCCD encompasses parts of Kern, Tulare, Inyo, Mono and San Bernardino counties. KCCD serves 44,000 students with 1,400 employees at three colleges—Bakersfield College, Porterville College and Cerro Coso Community College in Ridgecrest.
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