The Common Ground

Colleges secure grants to expand online career education

Posted on: Jun 27, 2019 12:00:00 AM
In: District, Grossmont, Cuyamaca
Contact: Anne Krueger


Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges have each secured a $500,000 grant to build online career education programs to train students with the skills needed for good-paying, in-demand jobs.


Grossmont College’s grant is funding a project that will allow students to earn industry-recognized certificates in high-tech areas ranging from computer science to advanced manufacturing. The project targets historically underserved populations in the East County, particularly first-generation students, English learners, women entering STEM careers, and refugees.


It will feature Siemens Corp.’s Industrial Networks Education Program and Rockwell’s Logix Certificate Program, and students earning certificates will be ready to fill staffing shortages in advanced manufacturing, water and environmental technology, health and healthcare management, and more.

“The grant will help us serve a critical need in our backyard and in the region,” said Dr. Javier Ayala,

Grossmont College’s dean of Career and Technical Education/ Workforce Development.


Cuyamaca College’s grant will fund a program that will offer 12 online automotive technology courses that can be accessed by students from across California and which builds on an existing Ford Automotive Student Service Education and Training (ASSET) initiative. Online classes cover everything from brakes and automatic transmission service to electronics and climate control, and students completing the curriculum will receive Ford Motor Co. Technician Specialty Training certification.


Demand for such skills is strong. A grant proposal notes the California market alone needs 2,000 new technicians immediately, positioning the program to meet an urgent demand. Automotive service technicians and mechanics earn an average wage of more than $47,000 annually in San Diego County, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.


“This grant will provide Cuyamaca College with an opportunity to change the way educational training is delivered to the automotive repair industry,” said Larry McLemore, Cuyamaca’s dean of Career & Technical Education.


Both programs should be available for students by fall 2020.


The $500,000 grants were made through the Improving Online CTE Pathways grant program developed by the California Community Colleges’ California Virtual Campus – Online Education Initiative. The California Virtual Campus – Online Education Initiative’s primary focus is to increase the number of transfer degrees awarded by the state’s community colleges and its mission is to provide access to and success in high-quality, online programs and student support services.


Seventy grants totaling $27.5 million were awarded in all. One-third of all students in California’s community colleges now take at least one class online.