New CTE Initiatives at Gavilan Harness $1 Million Annually in Strong Workforce Fundingby on Sep 8, 2017
The State of California Strong Workforce Funding (SWF) legislated $200 million annually to expand quality community college Career Technical Education (CTE) and workforce development courses, programs, pathways, credentials, certificates and degrees.
CTE Dean Sherrean Carr convened a task force which met throughout Fall 2016 to identify strategies. Planners included CTE faculty and staff representing community education, noncredit and student services. "Strong Workforce is categorical, ongoing, annual funding, not a grant," said Carr. "Each time we asked the state, 'when is this going away?' they have told us it is staying."
The State built into the legislation a tiered funding process
• 60% goes directly to the local community college districts.
• 40% is designated to community college districts that participate, lead, or innovate regional projects.
It also requires community colleges demonstrate measurable results
• Increase the number of students in quality CTE programs.
• Increase the number of quality CTE courses, programs and pathways leading to successful workforce outcomes.
As community college districts expand their CTE programs utilizing these funds and then measure the results, SWF funding levels remain steady for the first two years. The governor and legislature provided incentives for increased funding in subsequent years to districts that improve their success rates.
In the first year of funding (FY 2016-17), Gavilan's 60% share of direct categorical funding totaled $639,561. The college task force recommended applying the direct funding to new programs, and to staffing positions supporting them.
The previously unfilled Director of Community Education expanded – in title and scope – to the Director of Workforce and Career Education. New director Susan Sweeney will develop career programs through contract education, community education, CTE and noncredit classes.
The restructuring includes a full-time CTE counselor and a senior program specialist to facilitate work-based learning opportunities, dual enrollment, career pathways, job development and job placement.
To crest the $1 million mark, Gavilan also received $362,418 designated for regional activities.
Gavilan College is one of 28 members in the Bay Area Community College Consortium (BACCC), a collective footprint stretching from Santa Rosa in the north, San Francisco to the west, Livermore to the east and Salinas to the south. Carr works closely with BACCC on many issues, and SWF funding deepens those connections.
Six new regional CTE programs at Gavilan in a year
A summer phlebotomy class, piloted by Community Education, filled immediately. Students do not need extensive science prerequisites to earn the certification. The class met 12 consecutive Saturdays in the Allied Health Building. Certified phlebotomists earn a good income. It's also an opportunity for students to discover and explore Gavilan's RN program.
Also last summer, a Cyberpatriot Camp was offered to area middle and high school students. Teens spent a full week learning cyber terminology and ways to strengthen their own computer systems. On the final day, students participated in a mock competition among four BACCC colleges, with the Gavilan students placing third through fifth.
Netlab, a BACCC remotely shared information and communication technologies (ICT) lab, supports community college students who need hand-on skills demanded by their employers.
The first drone class is up and flying Fall 2017, with three more classes to follow. Additional classes are in development. As the industry implements new regulations, Gavilan is taking the regional lead on the drone program and exchanging curriculum with others. The college sponsored a drone fly-in for all regional community college faculty at the Coyote Valley campus in August.
A Heating Ventilation Air Condition (HVAC) training program is in development. The space vacated by Aviation Maintenance Technology will be retrofitted with furnaces, switches and air conditioners. HVAC timeline is slated to start Fall 2018. Regional partners are Laney College and San Jose City College. Four HVAC classes are in curriculum review this fall, with additional classes in development.
Measuring outcomes, meeting state standards
The SWF annual funding cycle is October 1 - September 30, so reports for 2016-17 are due in the Chancellor's Office the end of the month.
CTE Counselor Jessica Weiler, compiling information for the first year report, discovered more than 80 students who completed all the requirements for graduation in a CTE major but did not petition for graduation. She is assisting those students through the graduation process to benefit their careers and earning power, as well as to accurately reflect Gavilan's program outcomes.
Carr, who loves developing new programs and finding the money to fund them, didn't have to go looking for the money this time. She will work with Sweeney to implement a new workflow decision plan. As the team incubates new CTE programs in community education to test for feasibility, they will also build workplace learning internships and dual enrollment with high school students and the college.
Building on success
"In water management and wastewater technology, the labor market is good," Carr said. "There's a coming 'silver tsunami,' as people retire. The college is ready to train the next wave in the field."
Sherrean Carr has been with Gavilan for 30 years. She started as faculty and counselor for Disabled Students Programs and Services (DSPS), then became associate dean for the program.
In 1999, former VP of Instruction Marty Johnson asked her to lead CTE, because the program needed better direction and needed leadership.
"But DSPS is where my heart is," Carr said. Johnson agreed, she said, "that is a good place for your heart. But CTE needs your vision."
Carr brought heart and vision to CTE, discovered she loves building new programs and seeing students take charge of their careers.
"Aviation maintenance creates air safety for everyone who flies," she said. "Cosmetology is a trade, a skill people can use forever. The world needs good nurses. "
The SWF guidelines offer incentives for community colleges to receive additional funding in year three based on measurable results. Carr and her team have set their sights on attracting additional funding for Gavilan College and creating more pathways for students.