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150,000 Students to Take Classes this Fall at San Diego and Imperial County Community Colleges

San Diego County CA— Our region’s largest provider of higher education will welcome nearly 150,000 students to the 2016-17 academic year on August 22 at San Diego’s nine community colleges, and August 15 at Imperial Valley College.

“California Community Colleges offer the most affordable higher education option in the country, and we are looking for another successful year in helping students secure a degree, transfer to a four-year university or college, or get the skills necessary to get ahead in their profession,” said Dr. Sunita “Sunny” Cooke, president of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Community Colleges Association (SDICCCA) and superintendent/president of MiraCosta College in Oceanside.

Cooke – who chairs the California Community College Chancellor’s Office’s Doing What Matters for Jobs and the Economy campaign – noted that every college in the region is adding and expanding programs that offer residents the latest, cutting-edge job skills for in-demand industries.

Here are some of the highlights happening this year at area community colleges:

MiraCosta College

Almost 15,000 students are set to attend MiraCosta College when classes start Aug. 22. This fall, the college will begin collecting applications for its groundbreaking bachelor of science degree in biomanufacturing, a program that launches in fall 2017. This innovative degree program was developed to address careers in the production side of the biotechnology industry, including manufacturing and quality.

In addition, MiraCosta College has just launched Southern California’s only Veterans Business Outreach Center, a center that will help veterans and service members from San Diego to Santa Barbara who have already left or are leaving the military and embarking on self-employment or entrepreneurship.

MiraCosta also has secured a three-year, state grant of nearly $1.5 million to vastly reduce the number of students needing remedial instruction by expanding several cutting edge programs that have a record of success. MiraCosta College has implemented a number of initiatives over the years – including the First Year Experience, the Bridge to Success in Math and the HealthStart English programs – to help students achieve greater success, and the new grant will enable the college to build upon and expand those initiatives.

Palomar College

Classes begin Aug. 22 at Palomar College, where approximately 25,000 students will have more than 2,400 classes this fall to choose from. New associate degrees are being offered in computer information systems, management information systems, kinesiology and Spanish. New certificate programs are being offered in computer information systems, fashion design, management information systems, environmental studies, unmanned aircraft systems technician, and foundations in technical careers.

Palomar, which will celebrate its 70th anniversary this year, is welcoming a new president, Dr. Joi Lin Blake – the 10th superintendent/president in the college’s history.

Meanwhile, the college landscape continues to change at the San Marcos Campus with the grand opening of the Early Childhood Education Lab School, the groundbreaking of a parking structure on the west side of campus and the continued construction on the Library/Learning Resource Center.

Cuyamaca College

Cuyamaca College, where an estimated 9,000 students can choose from 767 course sections, will offer several new degrees and certificates when the fall semester begins Aug. 22.

The Rancho San Diego college formed a new partnership with Point Loma Nazarene University to offer bachelor’s degrees in child development and organizational development, with upper-division classes held at both Cuyamaca College and online. New associate degree programs in Kumeyaay studies and Arabic studies also launch this fall.

In addition, Cuyamaca is offering new certificate programs in business information worker and mechatronics. The mechatronics certificate is designed for those interested in working in the field of advanced manufacturing. The business information worker certificate, developed in conjunction with local employers, provides a job readiness pathway for office workers and builds a solid foundation in Microsoft Windows and Office, along with critical thinking and interpersonal skills that are vital in an office setting.

Grossmont College

Grossmont College, with more than 18,000 students, is partnering with Point Loma Nazarene University to offer a computer/information technology bachelor’s degree program, with upper-division classes held at both Grossmont College and online. The program joins the pre-existing Grossmont College/PLNU nursing bachelor’s degree program. And like its sister college, Grossmont College will also offer the business information worker certificate, providing students with a certificate requested and recognized by employers throughout the state.

Other new offerings this academic year include the addition of weekend (Friday and Saturday) and late-start classes designed to offer students the flexibility they need to complete certificate and associate degree programs. With late-start classes, students can earn up to five units in as little as eight weeks.

Another program eying expansion is the Administration of Justice Department’s 16-week, public safety dispatch course. In response to workforce demand throughout the region, the course is now offered twice a year, during each semester. The course cost $322 for California residents, and is approved as meeting the basic dispatcher training for law enforcement agencies.

 Imperial Valley College

Fall classes begin Aug. 15 at Imperial Valley College, where an estimated 7,000 students are choosing from 792 class sections that are being offered. In June, the largest graduating class in the college’s history received diplomas or certificates, and college officials expect that trend to continue.

Students will notice some structural changes underway on the campus. This month, ground will be broken for a 15-acre photovoltaic solar facility that is expected to save the college $8 million over the next 25 years. Stepping into the arena of renewable energy production will help put the college at the forefront of the renewable energy field. The solar plant is the result of agreements with Green Light Energy Corp., ZGlobal, Inc., and the Imperial Irrigation District.

San Diego Community College District

The estimated 50,000 students signing up for classes that begin Aug. 22 at San Diego City College, San Diego Mesa College, and San Diego Miramar College will have a number of new options this year thanks to an array of new degrees, certificates, and programs.  Among the new students arriving this month are 201 who are participating in the San Diego Community College District’s “San Diego Promise” free community college pilot program.

San Diego City College has incorporated a variety of disciplines into new manufacturing engineering technology courses that will provide students with the skills to build their own electric guitars. The program is aimed at helping students to become highly skilled manufacturing engineering technicians.

“We’re really excited about these guitar-building classes, as they provide yet another way for us to differentiate City College as a forward-thinking and innovative institution,” said Interim President Denise S. Whisenhunt. “No other STEM classes end up in a jam session.”

Other new programs at City College include a certificate of achievement in broadcast news, a certificate of performance as a nail technician in the Cosmetology Program, and an associate of science degree in documentary filmmaking. In addition, City College’s Photography Department will for the first time offer five classes online.

San Diego Mesa College officially opens a new center of campus life with a Sept. 14 dedication of its Mesa Commons that includes two cafeterias, a bookstore, a convenience store, and more. Mesa also is offering a new certificate of achievement and a new associate of science degree in the rapidly growing field of event management. In addition, Mesa College’s baccalaureate program in health information management will, for the first time, be offering upper division classes beginning this fall.

At San Diego Miramar College, new offerings include a personal financial management course to help students understand the many important aspects of and strategies for successful money management, an emergency medical technician certificate program, and a graphics/visual production certificate.

Among the new offerings at San Diego Continuing Education, which begins its academic year Sept. 6, is a small business growth certificate program that will provide entrepreneurs with the practical application skills and knowledge to plan, manage, and grow a small business.

Southwestern College

Southwestern College will offer 1,985 course sections to more than 18,000 students when the fall semester begins Aug. 22. As students begin their semester, they’ll immediately notice significant progress to Proposition R projects at the main campus and at National City. The old 1000 building has been demolished to make way for the college’s new state-of-the-art Math, Science and Engineering Building. Concrete for the new building at the Higher Education Center in National City has been poured and laid. The foundation of the new Wellness and Aquatic Complex is complete and its new walls are helping this facility on the corner of H Street and Otay Lakes Road take shape.

New students this fall will include inmates at Donovan Correctional Facility taking general education classes toward an Associate Degree for Transfer through the Inmate Education Program.

The San Diego and Imperial Counties Community College Association is a collaboration between the six community college districts in the two-county area.  SDICCCA comprises the community colleges in the two-county region and collaborates closely with San Diego State University, UC San Diego, Cal State San Marcos, and the San Diego Workforce Partnership in developing and maintaining effective programs that ensure student success, serve the community, and train workers with up-to-date job skills.