(Santa Ana)—Rancho Santiago Community College District (RSCCD) has been awarded four $300,000 grants to better prepare students for jobs in international trade, digital media, retail, hospitality and tourism and to foster small business development. The grants are funded by the California Community College Chancellor's Office Division of Workforce & Economic Development.
Supporting the Doing What MATTERS for Jobs and the Economy (DWM) framework of community colleges, the grants are essential catalysts to California's economic recovery and jobs creation at the local, regional and state levels.
Through a competitive process, RSCCD was selected to receive four of the four grants applied for. The grants will focus on the following sectors:
- Global Trade and Logistics
- Information and Communication Technologies
- Small Business
For over 12 years, RSCCD has provided leadership and direct services to foster development of the global trade sector through its Center for International Trade Development (CITD) and by hosting the non-profit International Consortium for Educational and Economic Development (ICEED) which connects educators and industry in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada to address issues related to global trade sector development. At Santa Ana College (SAC), one of RSCCD’s two colleges, the International Business Program has been accredited by the National Association of Small Business International Trade Educators. Additionally, SAC has the distinction of having produced more Certified Global Business Professionals than any other college or university program in the U.S.
The Global Trade and Logistics Sector grant will allow the college district to deepen its focus on this important business sector. It will do so by concentrating on three strategies:
- Share updated and accurate data on global trade educational capacity and workforce needs;
- Establish one web portal for regional global trade and logistics sector development efforts;
- Share outcomes of improved curriculum alignment, increased enrollment in global trade programs, and increased global trade activity for businesses in the region.
RSCCD has a history of involvement in the Information and Communication Technologies sector. Since 2006, the college district has served the digital media industry through its Digital Media Center, providing a business incubator for technology/digital media entrepreneurs and educational programs in digital media arts, TV/video communication, and digital music. Recently, RSCCD provided technology and digital media training for the Santa Ana Workforce Investment Board Green Job Tech and Seeds to Trees programs.
The Information and Communication Technologies Sector grant will help address the low enrollment and perceived disengagement of students in technology-related classes and degrees. Strategies and outcomes expected through this grant include:
- Reactor Café Roundtables to facilitate discussions between faculty and industry leaders;
- A dedicated website to serve students, faculty, and industry;
- Development of a capacity study to identify industry opportunities and gaps;
- Professional development opportunities at employer sites;
- Increased collaboration between faculty and employers;
- Increased development of career pathways that align with students’ interests;
- An increase in student enrollment in information technology and computer science courses leading to degrees that prepare students for in-demand jobs.
Through its workforce development and contract education programs—the Corporate Training Institute and previously the Workplace Learning Resource Center—RSCCD has catered to employers by designing customized job training for nearly 15 years that has met specific industry needs. According to 2010 Economic Employment Department data, the retail/hospitality/tourism sector is one of the fastest growing industry sectors in Orange County, accounting for the majority of recent employment growth in the region. This sector grant, which will cover both Orange and Los Angeles counties, will provide leadership in developing the following:
- Strategic plan for blending retail/hospitality/tourism training needs with college occupational programs;
- Development of degree and certificate programs to improve alignment with industry and student enrollment;
- A dedicated website to connect students, faculty, and industry;
- Faculty- and industry-led leadership groups for retail, hospitality and tourism sectors;
- Customized training and work skills assessments for employers in this sector;
- Creation of internships for professional development.
For over 20 years, RSCCD has provided leadership and direct services to foster small business development by hosting the Orange County Small Business Development Center (SBDC), which annually results in significant outcomes in business start-up, increased sales, increased capital, and new hires. This sector grant will augment the current business development programs and services by:
- Integrating the efforts of the community colleges in Orange County with the efforts of business assistance programs such as the Orange County SBDC;
- Developing curriculum and programs that can meet the needs of all entrepreneurs, including aspiring entrepreneurs to existing small business owner who are looking for peer-to-peer mentorship;
- Leveraging the resources of the Orange County SBDC with the assets developed through the RSCCD Business and Entrepreneurship Center;
- Increasing the availability of small business and entrepreneurship certificate and degree programs for students in fields that have a high likelihood of resulting in small business ownership, including cosmetology, auto repair, music, and more.
According to RSCCD Chancellor, Raúl Rodríguez, Ph.D., the college district has a long history of helping local businesses prosper. “Our core business is producing graduates who are ready for work and helping students retool their skill sets throughout their careers," said Rodríguez. “These grants will make it possible to expand our collaboration with employers in four key sectors in our region and collaborate with nearby community colleges to better meet workforce needs and grow the economy.”
About the Rancho Santiago Community College District
The mission of the Rancho Santiago Community College District (RSCCD) is to respond to the educational needs of an ever-changing community and to provide programs and services that reflect academic excellence. Santa Ana College and Santiago Canyon College are public community colleges of RSCCD, which serve the residents of Anaheim Hills, East Garden Grove, Irvine, Orange, Santa Ana, Tustin and Villa Park. Both colleges provide education for academic transfer and careers, courses for personal and professional development, customized training for business and industry, and programs to train nurses, firefighters and law enforcement personnel.
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