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May 27, 2015

College of the Canyons Receives $5.5 Million Career Pathways Grant

College of the Canyons received a $5.5 million grant today to create four career pathway programs and expand student participation in career related-activities in partnership with the William S. Hart Union High School District and local business leaders.  

The “Pathway to My Future” program will enable high school students to complete dual enrollment courses offered on their high school campus or at College of the Canyons and complete a sequence of academic and career-based education and training that leads to an associate degree or industry certification. The four target pathways are: advanced manufacturing, computer networking, construction technology and legal studies. 

“When you bring industry and educators together to talk about equipping students for careers, amazing opportunities for collaboration and innovation are created,” said College of the Canyons Chancellor Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook. “We’re excited to work with the Hart School District and accomplished experts from our local business community to help students launch careers in high-skill, high-wage, and high-growth fields.”

“Collaboration is at the heart of success,” said Hart District Superintendent Vicki Engbrecht. “By maintaining focus on what our partners in business, industry, government, and non-profit agencies need from the future workforce and through our strong relationship with College of the Canyons, we are able to provide cutting edge programs in pathways that lead to competitive careers in Santa Clarita and beyond.”

The Advanced Manufacturing pathway includes certificates of specialization in: Computer-Aided Drafting (CAD) using the CATIA and SolidWorks CAD packages; Computer-Aided Manufacturing using Mastercam; and Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) Machining. Training will develop skills to operate conventional and CNC machinery; program CNC machinery; operate various CAD/CAM software systems; and interpret technical drawings. 

Manufacturing courses will be held at COC’s Center for Applied Competitive Technologies (CACT) on-site at Aerospace Dynamics International (ADI), one of the largest aerospace manufacturers in the region, employing 500 employees, as well as Saugus and Canyon high schools. Holding classes at the CACT located in ADI’s facility provides students with real-world experience using technology and equipment in the same type of company where they will be qualified to work upon program completion.

Students completing the Computer Networking pathway will be qualified for entry-level information technology positions in either systems administration or network administration. The pathway offers two options: Cisco Certified Network Associate or Network Administrator (CCNA) or Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP) Systems Administrator. CCNA certification will qualify entry-level network engineers. An MCITP credential certifies knowledge and experience to manage Microsoft Windows server technologies. Students will learn to analyze, test, troubleshoot and evaluate network systems. At a higher level, responsibilities could include the actual design and implementation of computer networks. The pathway will also provide options for an associate degree, as well as transfer to four-year colleges or universities.

Upon completing the Construction Technologies pathway, students will demonstrate proficiency in the core skills and knowledge required for entry-level employment in construction management. Students will learn skills to monitor projects; manage resources; make daily decisions about construction activities; meet deadlines and respond to emergencies; and integrate sustainable practices into construction projects. Students in this pathway will have a four-year university transfer option as well. 

The Legal Studies pathway offers associate degrees in Administration of Justice or Paralegal Studies. The Administration of Justice pathway focuses on the study of law enforcement in the United States with the primary emphasis on California law, procedures, and evidence. The Paralegal Studies pathway curriculum prepares students for positions as paralegals and legal assistants in order to improve the accessibility, quality, and affordability of legal services.

“What’s unique about this initiative is it equips students to quickly begin careers in burgeoning fields, but also gives them the option of continuing their educations and earning advanced degrees,” Dr. Van Hook said. 

The grant is provided through the California Career Pathways Trust (CCPT) program, which is the largest program of its kind in the nation. The program has provided nearly $500 million in career tech grants over two years. 

The $5,550,412 in funding received by College of the Canyons will be received over two years. It is part of $244 million in grants awarded Wednesday by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson to 40 programs that blend academic and career technical education, connect employers with schools and train students for jobs in high-demand fields.

“My top priority is to better prepare California students for college and careers in the 21st century,” Torlakson said. “Career Pathways provides vital support for innovative and effective career tech programs that keep students engaged in school and prepare them for real-world jobs.”​