Students at Long Beach City College (Photo Credit: LBCC)
California seems to be getting all its ducks in a row. How’s that, you ask? Whether you’re a business leader, an economic developer or an educator, you know that workforce development is the key to closing the skills gap. Representatives in all of those sectors appear to be on the same page when it comes to the roadmap to success.
Here’s just another example: the California Employment Training Panel just approved $13.9 million in job training funds, with $3 million going to six different projects to community colleges in the state.
There are 112 community colleges in 72 districts in the state. These educational institutions are important to solving the skills issue as they are in the right place to help business find the workers with the right high-tech skills. They are helping fill the skills gap and prepare the workforce for high paying jobs of today. Thanks to private public partnerships, California’s community colleges are providing students with cutting edge resources and training critical for the changing workplace.
“Community colleges play a vital role in keeping our state economically competitive,” said Chancellor Brice Harris. “Our colleges are well positioned to respond to local job training needs with high-quality instruction. This partnership with the Employment Training Panel will help employers meet their workforce requirements and help students succeed in the labor market.”
Long Beach City College’s Division of College Advancement and Economic Development is just one example of a community college partnering up with the business community to create programs specifically designed to meet industry needs.
“We make sure we are having the right kind of dialogues with those partners, closely, on an ongoing basis” said Lou Anne Bynum, V.P. of the division at LBCC. “In turn, we are making sure that our technical education programs are reflecting what’s going on in those sectors. It speaks to the urgency we have here and the research we’re doing and putting into our tech career programs are really reflective of what our industry needs are.”
LBCC is hyper focused. Instead of having a long list of technical career programs, the college strategically focuses on five industries important to its region: international trade and transportation, alternative fuels and green technology, health care, business development and manufacturing technology.
“Many of our programs are being evaluated to see if they can remain siloed or start working with different departments, as technology has evolved, as jobs have become differentiated and distinguished, as industry sectors have merged together and formulated clusters,” said Marty Alvarado, Director of Institutional Resource Development at Long Beach City College.
By maintaining a high level of training that’s both advanced and relevant, industry-linked programs and services enable students to reach their goals and compete in the global marketplace.
“Whether training is focused on emerging technologies or streamlined production methods, community colleges are helping industry stay competitive and allowing businesses and individuals to contribute to California’s economic prosperity,” said Harris.