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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 11, 2008
College Named Statewide Workforce Development Coordinator
As a result of its longstanding reputation of excellence in the field of employee training and economic development, College of the Canyons has received a $400,000 grant from the Chancellor’s Office to become the statewide coordinator for the California Community College System’s annual economic and workforce development conferences and meetings.
“Our economic development program is one of the best in the state and the awarding of this grant is recognition of that,” said Dr. Bruce Getzan, COC dean of economic development.
Named the Economic and Workforce Development Program Coordination Services Grant, the additional funding -- which is renewable annually for five years -- will allow for the creation of three new positions in the college’s economic development division, including a project director and conference services coordinator.
As stated in the grant, COC will now be responsible for assisting in the planning of the annual Economic Workforce Development (EWD) conference, which brings together economic development professionals from throughout the community college, government and private sector ranks. Next year’s conference -- currently scheduled for April 2009 in Monterey -- will be held in cooperation with the California Association for Local Economic Development (CALED).
“We’re always looking for partnerships with business and industry groups, professional organizations and associations and community groups in our region and across the state, to see how we can improve the economic climate, how we can enhance employability and how we can promote retention and growth of business,” said Getzan. “These types of issues are discussed each year at the conference, and then delivered through the various community colleges in a variety of different ways.”
In addition, COC will now be responsible for the coordination of three future sessions of the Economic and Workforce Development Program Advisory Committee (EDPAC) -- the policy making wing of the Chancellor’s Office EWD program.
“This was an important opportunity for us to pursue because it so closely relates to our mission statement at the college -- to provide relevant academic education at the lower division level and workforce opportunities for all who seek those kinds of opportunities,” said Getzan. “That’s why, with Chancellor Dr. Van Hook’s leadership, we moved forward with this application. It’s an extension of the great work that she has been doing, and encouraging us to do.”
In 1996, economic development became one of the primary missions of the California Community College System. The purpose of the EWD program is to advance the state’s economic growth and global competitiveness through education, training, and services that contribute to continuous workforce improvement.
The role of the community colleges in this effort is to fulfill the vocational education and instructional needs of California business and industry through leadership, communication, and liaisons with the private sector as well as with public sector education and training providers.
Colleges work with employers, advisory committees, and agency partners to identify, on a region-by-region basis, workforce education and training needs, including the needs of small business. As a result colleges throughout the system have created a network of Regional Centers that meet identified needs in a most cost-effective and timely manner.
Collectively the more than 100 Regional Centers throughout the state provide the long-term delivery structure of the EWD program by providing a foundation for long-term, sustained relationships with businesses, labor and colleges in the region.
They also support, develop and deliver direct services to businesses, colleges, labor organizations, employees and employers in an economic region of the state — providing direct services such as curriculum development, faculty training, assessment, one-on-one counseling, seminars, workshops, conferences, training, technology transfer and educational services.
Regional Center initiatives have been developed in a variety of strategic industry areas including: Advanced Transportation and Energy; Biotechnologies; Applied Competitive Technologies; International Trade Development; Business and Workforce Performance Improvement; Health Occupations; Multimedia and Entertainment; Environmental Safety; Health and Homeland Security; Workplace Learning Resources; and Small Business Development.
This spring the College of the Canyons Center for Applied and Competitive Technologies was named winner of the 2007-08 Exemplary Innovation Award for its implementation of the FastTrack Manufacturing Boot Camp -- which works to prepare at-risk youth, ages 18 to 21, for high-paying, upwardly laddered careers in manufacturing.