West Hills College Coalinga Receives Funding for Job-Training Program
West Hills College Coalinga is among five other colleges selected to participate in a new $1 million job-training partnership this fall between the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency, the Employment Training Panel and the California Community College Chancellor’s Office (CCCCO). The agencies are providing $1 million to workers and employers for job training in drought-affected areas in California. WHCC’s irrigation technician program qualifies for this funding.
“West Hills College Coalinga, in concert with other influential organizations and other educational institutions, is pleased to participate in the drought-related training initiative and applauds the funding commitment to the Valley,” said Stu Van Horn, vice chancellor of educational services and workforce development for West Hills Community College District. “Our experience in delivering irrigation systems workforce training programs will enable Central Valley residents affected by the drought to take advantage of emerging opportunities in this high demand workforce industry.”
WHCCD paved the way for this sort of movement through its first Essential Elements session last March, “The Very Last Drop.” The session focused on water issues in the San Joaquin Valley and what industry leaders and educational institutions can do to help.
“The Very Last Drop highlighted irrigation innovation happening in the region and provided our faculty and staff cutting-edge insights into the latest demands of area employers that will help us in retraining displaced workers,” said Van Horn.
The partnership is effective Sept. 15, 2014 through June 30, 2016, with job training classes beginning this fall semester. Funding is made available through drought-aid legislation that was signed into law earlier this year. The CCCCO will coordinate with Yosemite Community College District to market this program.
The campuses selected include West Hills College Coalinga, Fresno City College, Reedley College, Modesto Junior College, Merced College and College of the Sequoias.
With this funding, 12 training programs of approximately 250 hours each will be offered at no cost to local residents. After completing one of the programs, students will receive an industry-recognized certificate. A full list of eligible programs at participating colleges includes Irrigation systems, evaluations specialists and designers, logistics technicians, electrical maintenance technicians, water treatment operators, forklift and warehouse technicians, food safety technicians, qualified pesticide applicators and manufacturing production technologists.
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