Expert from the Bakersfield College President, Sonya Christian, president’s blog regarding the recent road show stop!


Talking about the community and partnerships, what comes to mind are the Career Technical Education (CTE) programs at BC.  Each and every CTE program has an advisory committee comprised of individuals from business and industry.  Let me share with you some pieces of information that I received from Cindy Collier and Liz Rozell.

DSC00065Not long ago we were happy to welcome to campus members of the Central/Mother Lode Regional Consortium and our area Deputy Sector Navigators (DSN), both to see our Career Technical Education (CTE) coursework firsthand, as well as to talk with us about how that training can better serve the employment demands of regional industries.

The Central/Mother Lode Regional Consortium (CRC) is a collaboration of community college faculty and staff with regional workforce and economic development organizations that serve the Central and Mother Lode region. The CRC supports regional economic growth by facilitating development of college training and educational programs to meet the needs of regional businesses and industries.

Deputy Sector Navigators convene advisory groups in each of the region’s primary industry sectors; provide outreach and partnership support to the community colleges; facilitate the endorsement of new credit Career Technical Education programs; and serve as a connection between local colleges and business.

DSC00075Obviously, their input not only channels valuable communication between colleges like BC and the area’s largest job providers, but more importantly, it makes sure our CTE programs are helping students become as employable as possible the minute they graduate with their degree.

It was a large group of dedicated individuals, including Karri Hammerstrom, Regional Chair; Nora Seronello, Center of Excellence – Central Valley region; Valerie Fisher (Health); Lorinda Forrest (Small Business); Shelley Attix (Retail/Hospitality); Jeanette Benson (Global trade and logistics); Dennis Mohle (ICT/Digital Media); Gurminder Sangha (Advanced Manufacturing); Bob Hawkes (Regional SB 1070 Director); and David Teasdale (Prop. 39 Dir., Energy and Efficiency).

After introductions, our BC CTE representatives talked about their programs and courses, highlighting changes they’ve made to curriculum in response to industry needs and labor market changes, including new digital media, commercial music, automotive, public health sciences, paramedic and baccalaureate programs.  They also highlighted the collaborative work going on with the CCPT1/CCPT2 and C6 grants and the growth in Kern County’s rural communities, especially highlighted in the ongoing growth and development of BC’s welding, agriculture and health programs.

In addition, job development specialist Stephanie Baltazar and faculty shared information regarding all the varied internships, job placement programs, career connection events and “soft” skills (resume development, interview techniques, etc.) that they are providing students.

BC’s Health Care group highlighted their phenomenal employment rates of 95% or greater.

Meanwhile, auto and welding faculty shared that most of their students had jobs before they completed the programs.

IMG_9372Right now, the Bakersfield College Automotive Technology program provides a wide range of training for automotive technicians with an average of 250 students each year participating in the program. Through the guidance and feedback of an active Automotive Advisory Committee, the program serves the community well by responding to the increasing needs of industries in Kern County.

The newest Automotive Technology faculty member Andrew Haney gave the visiting CRC group a guided tour of Vic Posey’s engine repair and machining, electrical, and smog testing labs. Andrew and Vic, along with their colleagues Dan Johnson and Justin Flint, showed how they provide a dynamic, hands-on learning environment preparing students for employment as automotive technicians, smog test technicians, engine repair technicians, engine machinists, transmission repair technicians, alignment specialists, suspension specialists, brake system specialists, tire service technicians, air conditioning technicians, electrical diagnostic specialists, onsite/field repair technicians, heavy duty equipment technicians, service writers and consultants, parts sales persons and more.

We’re so proud of BC’s automotive program, a true standout among such programs in the state and a shining positive example of the college’s commitment to student success.  The auto dealerships in Bakersfield have been just wonderful in supporting our program.  Thank you!

As for BC’s welding program, it’s strategically designed to easily adapt to the economic fluctuations of local industry and increased student support needs.  Student success is enhanced with online instruction, embedded remedial skills, innovative technology, and engaged faculty, who continuously seek improvement via professional development.

Welding faculty member Josh Ralls provided an excellent overview of the program to our visiting DSNs, briefly describing the stackable organization of the curriculum.  In 2014-2015, the welding program experienced a 9% growth increase to 364 students.  This was primarily due to an expansion of the program to the Delano campus, facilitated by Professor Mike Komin in partnership with the Delano Joint Union High School District.  Additional growth is expected through faculty participation in the California Career Pathways Trust grant initiative to develop a successful dual enrollment program with our local and rural high schools.

IMG_9678We also can’t forget Electronics Technology, one of the fastest growing programs in the Engineering and Industrial Technology Department.  Currently, ET is at an incredible 32% growth in headcount during the last academic year.

The Electronics Technology program at Bakersfield College provides electronics training for a wide variety of technicians, including automation, instrumentation, consumer electronics, radio/telecommunications, installation and electronic systems fabrication.  In addition, Electronics Technology is the lower division feeder program to Bakersfield College’s new Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Automation, to begin in Fall 2016.

DSN guests were given a tour of the Computer Integrated Manufacturing lab, where they learned more about BC’s innovative industrial automation program of study within the Electronics Technology program. Electronics faculty member Manny Fernandez provided an overview of this rigorous and technically challenging program and related employment opportunities within the various industry sectors utilizing industrial automation and electronics preparation.

These are just some of the highlights from the DSN visit, which also included presentations from other notable BC programs, including FACE (Leah Carter and Corny Rodriguez), Culinary (Suzanne Durst and Alex Gomez), Child Development (Danell Ward, Jo’L Jackson and Bernadette Towns), Agriculture (Lindsay Ono and Corny Rodriguez), Horticulture (Lindsay Ono), Plant Science, Performing Arts (John Gerhold and Manny Mourtzanos), Commercial Music (Josh Ottum), Digital Art (Kris Stallworth and David Koeth), Nursing/Allied Health (Jennifer Johnson) and Rad Tech (Nancy Perkins).

A big thank you to our gracious DSN’s, to the wonderful CTE faculty members who took the time to present their stellar educational work and to Cindy Collier and Liz Rozell for the exceptional information they provided to me on  a wonderful visit and invaluable day.


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