California community colleges receive kudos for supporting U.S. exports

150 150 Cheryl Getuiza

One in four manufacturing jobs in California is dependent on exports. (Photo Credit: Lance Cunningham)

Getting an A on a test or a report, in school, was the best feeling–knowing all of your hard work paid off.

Well, the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office was just awarded an “E” for the system’s contributions to the increase of U.S. exports—it’s like an A, as it’s the highest U.S. government recognition any American entity may receive for supporting export activity.

The award recognized the system’s Centers for International Trade Development, which Jeff Williamson oversees, from his office at the Riverside Community College District.

“This award recognizes our work over the last several years. One in every four manufacturing jobs in California is dependent upon exports, which combined with service and related industries support an estimated 1.2 million jobs in the state. So making sure we help those companies is very important to the economy.”

There are nine Centers for International Trade Development up and down the state that help thousands of companies each year in conducting international business. The centers are supported by grants through the Chancellor’s Office’s Workforce and Economic Development division. Those investments help power the Golden State’s economy and its global competitiveness through industry-specific education, training and services that contribute to a skilled workforce.

“As part of community college system we are able to identify what those businesses current needs are and we can feed it back into the classroom so that the concept, the skills, the knowledge set that are needed, we can transfer that back to the colleges and they can prepare that next base of workers with that set of knowledge so they can build on it and actually become competitive,” said Williamson.

“The Center for International Trade Development has been a big part of our workforce training focus for two decades and we’re proud of what we have accomplished over that time,” said Chancellor Brice Harris. “We know that helping businesses get their products to foreign markets means providing them with training and access to funds. I believe we provide that service better than anyone.”

And that help is important and useful because 96 percent of California’s exporters are actually small businesses and $159 billion worth of products were exported from the state.

“We need to, as a state and a nation, to fully be committed to promoting exports as a means for economic development,” said Williamson.

“Globalization really affects every enterprise—either direct or indirectly. As we start moving toward the year 2020, for example, there will be nearly a billion middle class consumers in Asia and Southeast Asia. What this means is that $10 trillion consumption or purchasing power. So we’re going to have almost a whole U.S. economy in Asia.”

The Presidential “E” Award was created by President John F. Kennedy in 1961. To date, more than 2,500 firms have been recognized.

“We are honored by this recognition by the White House. Our community college efforts in exporting align well with the Governor’s emphasis on growing jobs.”

“The California Community Colleges CITD’s have been a valued partner for GoBiz in implementing its global trade agenda, particularly in supporting small businesses to expand globally,” said GoBiz Director Kish Rajan. “We congratulate them on this national award and look forward to many years of continued mutual support.”

California’s exporting has lost some of its power over the last decade and anything to help the businesses working to sell overseas should benefit creating jobs right here in the Golden State. 


Cheryl Getuiza

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