Longtime financial analyst and educational administrator Jeffrey Forrest has been named vice president of economic and workforce development at College of the Canyons. He will begin his new position effective July 25.
Forrest takes over the position vacated by Joe Klocko, former dean of economic and workforce development, who retired earlier this year.
“Jeffrey brings much more than a wealth of knowledge and valuable experience to College of the Canyons,” Chancellor Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook said. “He exudes a high level of enthusiasm, energy and passion – the very qualities that are so vital in establishing results-driven dynamic relationships that bolster the workforce and strengthen the economy. I know that he will play a major role in the economic development efforts of both College of the Canyons and the greater community.”
Forrest will be responsible for developing and strengthening partnerships with business leaders and other economic development organizations across the region and the state, said Pete Bellas, the college's interim dean of economic development. “Jeffrey's broad range of experience in industry, non-profits, private enterprise and community college makes him the ideal candidate to head up our economic and workforce development efforts,” Bellas said.
Forrest earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Missouri-St. Louis and an MBA from Lindenwood University. His career started as a financial analyst for McDonnell Douglas Corp., which was once the largest aerospace company in the world. He also has experience working in the non-profit and private business sectors.
“I hope to provide leadership and support to the business units of the college’s Economic Development Division in its efforts to foster job training, business services, and employment opportunities for students, residents, and Santa Clarita businesses,” Forrest said. “I’m also looking forward to the opportunity to champion the message of College of the Canyons as an innovative, entrepreneurial college that is committed to the growth and prosperity of the community.”
His interest in working in higher education was ignited, he said, when he became an adjunct professor at St. Louis Community College in 2004. “After the first semester, I was hooked, not only on teaching, but on the mission of the community college,” he said. “I knew from that moment that I wanted to spend the rest of my professional career serving in some capacity in higher education.”
For the past four years, he has served as interim dean of the Business and Human Development Division at St. Louis Community College. He developed relationships with local companies, managed grants, and built advisory committees for the college’s career technical education programs.
“The passion I had for workforce development was renewed at St. Louis, and I’ve been looking for an opportunity to apply my skillset in this area of higher education,” he added. “I am thrilled to be a Cougar.”