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Consider labor market needs when making budget, course & program decisions.

Decide on program capacity as a region.

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Retool programs that are not working or not meeting a labor market need so that students can study what MATTERS.

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Adopt common metrics and skills panels in CCCCO RFAs.

Strengthen regions with new skill sets.

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Solve a complex workforce training need so that our system can better deliver for employers and sectors.

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Innovate What MATTERS for Jobs and the Economy

Demand for Skilled Workers Outpaces Supply

Innovative public/private partnerships which enable us to close the skills gap of our state's labor force begin with working together to create solutions. As part of Doing What MATTERS for Jobs and the Economy framework, we are investing in innovation, such as highly specialized industry training, technical consulting and a multitude of services, that solve a complex workforce training need. The end result is the ability for our system of community colleges to better deliver for employers, sectors, and their workers.

Investments in Innovation

Innovate What Matters - Allied Health Project

Recently, healthcare employers and their educational trusts have approached the Chancellor’s Office seeking solutions to expedite incumbent worker training and accessibility to local community colleges for individuals who want to advance their healthcare knowledge and skills levels. With budgets slashed, most prerequisite courses needed for specialized allied health training are impacted with too many students and not enough seats. A partnership has been formed between the California Community College Chancellor’s Office, the California Corporate College (a project of the EWD Program Training and Development Initiative), the Statewide Health Workforce Initiative, SEIU UHW-West & Joint Employer Educational Fund and other large healthcare organizations. Advisory board members include: Kaiser/Ben Hudnell Trust, Jewish Vocational Services, Kern Valley State Prison, California Hospital Association, Sutter Health, and California Department of Industrial Relations.

Over the next 12 months, the Innovate What Matters-Allied Health project will research and analyze the complexities in public education’s ability to meet the growing needs of health workforce development while maximizing resources to accommodate multiple employers who seek similar skills for their workers. By increasing skill sets in established employees and moving them into higher wage jobs; new openings are created for entry level workers thus helping to expand and increase employment opportunities throughout the state.

Furthermore, the Innovate What Matters-Allied Health project will explore current working relationships between employers and local community colleges, seek examples of educational best practices from workforce-educational trainings nationwide, offer a pilot training program, and share lessons learned statewide after the completion of the project. With business and educational collaboration, The Innovate What Matters-Allied Health project will provide effective training opportunities while building a resilient workforce for the future of California.

Leadership of the Innovate What Matters Project will be provided in concert with the California Community College Chancellor’s Office, the Director of Training and Development, the Statewide Health Workforce Initiative and by Project Director, Valerie Fisher, RN, MA. Valerie has an extensive background as a special projects grant manager of educationally focused programs over the past 15 years. Her experiences include California Department of Education grants (K-12), Job Training Partnership Act/Workforce Investment Act/ARRA federal grants (postsecondary), and multi-agency community collaborative grants.

For more information, please contact Valerie at 559.970.5215 or via email:

Export/Import Compliance and Logistics

The California/Mexico Border Trade Institute will focus primarily on providing training to enhance the skills and productivity of the workforce that supports border trade, including export and import logistics. A skills panel consisting of private sector, education and government will be convened on a regular basis (3 month interval) to assess workforce skills and knowledge sets and help plan and implement training programs to reach the targeted audience.

This project entails workforce training and an assessment of skills both in the international trade and logistics industries. Having information available in both English and Spanish is also important. The needs we aim to address are primarily getting easy access to information (available, affordable, and obtainable regardless of geographic location) on how to export and import between California and Mexico. We want to communicate to industry professionals (students/entrepreneurs and incumbent workers alike) what skills, employment requirements, professional accreditations, and resources correspond with each career track. We also want to offer practical training from industry (peer to peer) to these professionals so that they may advance in their career and meet our workforce needs. The goal is to make data accessible statewide so it benefits all. Information is housed at Training, curriculum and information will be available and deliverable in an on-line format.

The International Logistics and Transportation Certificate Program at Southwestern College was incorporated as part of the professional curriculum of this project. Learn more about this program at You can also view a video about the certificate program.

Project Timeline

  • 1st quarter (June 2012 – August 2012)
  • 2nd quarter (September 2012 – December 2012)
  • 3rd quarter (January 2013 – March 2013)
  • 4th quarter (April 2013-June 2013)

For more information contact: Bronwen E. Madden, Deputy Director, Center for International Trade Development, or 310.973.3175

Shift in ICT Training to Close the Skills Gap

“SB1440 Transfer Model Curriculum and Stackable credentials in ICT”

Californian, American and global societies are in the middle of a major paradigm shift, from 20th century manufacturing and transportation to 21st century information, knowledge and innovation economies.  Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) is an umbrella term, widely used outside the U.S. and in the U.N., to encompass all rapidly emerging, evolving and converging computer, software, networking, telecommunications, Internet, programming and information systems technologies.  The ICT revolution is radically changing the ways we communicate, work, socialize, entertain, operate and trade – throughout society.

ICT industries are growing rapidly and already represent 4% of companies, 6% of private sector revenues, 4% of private sector workforce and 12% of private sector wages in California, the 2nd largest industry sector in the State for wages paid.  However, ICT workforce is not limited to ICT industries.  Every industry and most organizations employ ICT Workforce, to enable the ICT infrastructure and systems that allow firms to operate efficiently and compete effectively.  The ICT Workforce already employs 1.2 million Californians in 1 in 20 private sector jobs that pay twice California median wages, and there are about 80,000 annual ICT Workforce job openings in the State annually.  ICT Workforce job growth is among the fastest in most industry sectors, and employers report difficulty finding appropriately skilled ICT Workforce, even in this period of high unemployment.  Additionally, in almost every job in every industry, and for students in any field, basic and specialized ICT User knowledge and skills are now critical success factors.

Our employers, societies and educational systems are struggling with the rapid pace of change in ICT, and there are extraordinary inconsistencies in ICT Workforce job titles and descriptions, and in ICT educational program offerings.  The California Community College (CCC) ICT Collaborative is working to address the many challenges in this strategically important sector:  developing faculty to teach these technologies, harmonizing curriculum and credentials, building industry and employer relationships, promoting digital literacy, and developing modern lab infrastructure required for hands-on experiences.  A new statewide ICT Advisory is being developed to inform CCCs about ICT Workforce demand and help CCCs create degrees, certificates and other micro-credentials to validate appropriate ICT Workforce development.  The CCC ICT Collaborative helps CCCs cost-effectively push badly needed ICT knowledge and skills out into California communities – to accelerate livelihood, organizational effectiveness and economic growth in California.  The CCC ICT Collaborative launched 7/1/11, and the CCC ICT Statewide Advisory will launch 7/1/12.

For more information contact: James Jones,

Microcredentials as applied to the GIS space

The North Orange County Community College District (NOCCCD) will offer three types of curricula in GIS (Geographical Information Systems): Micro-Credentials, Core Courses and Certificate Programs. This tiered approach will help meet the complex needs of the workforce which includes: a) workers needing only specific skills to retain a position; b) workers needing to update specific skills and be able acquire evidence that they have those skills; c) workers wanting to acquire new workforce competencies for a change in occupation or advance in an occupation; and; d) students wishing to acquire the needed skills to enter into GST occupations.  

On May 16, 2012, the growth and significance of GST (Geospatial Technology) was supported when the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors adopted a new Ordinance recognizing eight new occupational classifications for GIS workers. The Ordinance stated that this was done because: “During the last several years, the use of GIS has increased rapidly throughout the County.  This technology improves planning, emergency response, communications and operational efficiencies.”  It further stated that it had been difficult for the County to “recruit, develop and maintain GIS technical expertise.”   In 2010, Geospatial Center of Excellence, (supported by the Department of Labor and the National Science Foundation) listed more than 320 skills and competencies that might be covered in a GIS curriculum.  In the NOCCCD program,  students will develop personal portfolios which will make them able to fit into the wide and complicated market of GIS jobs. Internal district work has already begun, but will commence outside work with two GIS consultants July 1, 2012 to Dec 31, 2012. The district’s grant officially started April 5, 2012 and runs through March 31, 2013.

For more information contact: Perla Fickenscher, Director for LA/OC ETC, North Orange County Community College District, or 714.808.4620

Community Colleges Contribution to Rural Economic Development

Plumas Rural Services (PRS) is a non-profit organization, which provides a variety of services aimed to improve health, education, and quality of life for residents of this rural county.  The organization provides at least one service to every resident in the county, including childcare, public transportation, health care, and education opportunities.  Additionally, PRS is one of the 10 largest employers in Plumas County. 

Since Fall 2010, Feather River College and Plumas Rural Services have served on the USDA RBOG (Rural Business Opportunity Grant) Biomass Collaborative, which is a regional group that explores market opportunities in biomass utilization. Out of this group, USDA State Director Glenda Humiston recognized the potential for PRS to purchase the idle cogen plant from current owners Sierra Pacific Industries which would provide economic development opportunity for the region through job creation, renewable energy production and an outlet for woody biomass waste. This 25 MW biomass power plant is expected to earn between $2 and $3 million per year selling approximately 138,000 MWh’s of energy, and operating costs are expected to run between $9 and $10 million per year, based on prior years’ operating cost and revenue data.  Director Humiston commissioned a business plan through UC Davis MBA students, which validated the viability of the project. The USDA offered to guarantee loans for the purchase of the cogen plant, which will be approximately $20 million. After the purchase of the plant, the USDA will also be supporting small business start-ups in the neighboring green industrial campus. The purpose of the meeting on June 11 was to explore the most viable opportunities for businesses on the green industrial campus.

In the short-term, PRS intends to begin using some of the plant’s revenues to supplement its federal, state and private funding.  Specifically, they would like to use the plant’s revenues to cover their administrative and overhead expenses, and assist the organization toward becoming more self-sustaining.  This power plant’s operating revenues are vital for PRS, as they are presently funded via state and federal appropriations.  Funding is designed to support PRS’s community support and enhancement activities they provide, with little allocation toward overhead/administrative budgets.  Because of the economy, state and federal budgets are facing ongoing cuts and reductions, which have been affecting PRS and reducing their budgets further.  This purchase is designed to make this critical organization less vulnerable to the state and federal budgets cuts.

PRS’ mid- and long-term goals for the power plant align with their mission, their socially responsible obligations, and community betterment efforts, while creating an exceptional value proposition for the region’s long-term viability for residents.  PRS’ mission states “Plumas Rural Services is a community based, non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life by promoting the health, education, and well being of local residents and families.”  The plant’s acquisition benefits the county, organization, and residents in means such as these:

Short-Term Goals:

  • Create approximately 19 direct jobs in the Loyalton area, supporting county residents,
  • Generate additional tax revenues through additional spending and local payroll taxes,
  • Provide environmentally-conscious services to the community by selling Bucket 1 renewable energy to a local utility, while providing additional income to the county,
  • Generate revenue to fill in state and federal funding gaps,
  • Generate revenue to support PRS’s administrative and overhead expenses,
  • Provide large, annual donations to Plumas County in place of property tax payments,

Mid-Term Goals:

  • Create additional business opportunities and jobs utilizing plant resources, wood debris and grounds,
  • PRS’s existing composting business will begin to utilize ash from the power plant, expand its operation, and earn income from selling compost,
  • By building greenhouses on the plant’s industrial park, PRS will utilize ash and compost from plant operations, and earn income from growing and selling vegetation to an area brewery,

Long-Term Goals:

  • The plants grounds will house a training facility for biomass power education, workforce training, and ecology and greenhouse training to prepare residents for careers in the community,
  • Private industry plans to rent space from PRS to build a synthetic diesel plant in the power plant’s industrial complex, providing additional jobs for residents.  This venture is expected to generate $10 million in annual revenues, and additional tax revenue for the county.

The Loyalton Project is in the beginning stages of implementation.  This economic development effort will not only stabilize this rural community but it has the possibility to create businesses and jobs as the project moves forward.  Not only will the Business & Entrepreneurship Center assist in the development and growth of local businesses, Feather River College will be involved in the workforce-training component of this project.  This is project will contribute to the economic health of this rural community for many years to come.

For more information contact: Amy Schulz, Director of the Business & Entrepreneurship Center (BEC) at Feather River College and member of the Plumas Rural Services Board of Directors,

Stackable Credentials in Water - Agriculture, Water and the Environment

In California, no other resource is more vital to the State’s prosperity, nor more critically endangered than the State’s water supply and delivery infrastructure. California’s entire economic growth, competitiveness and health depends upon having a safe, reliable water treatment and delivery infrastructure, and wastewater collection, treatment and disposal system.  The State’s 40 million residents and businesses currently rely on these systems to meet their needs over 1 billion times each day, and 20% of the state’s entire energy consumption is used just to move and manage water.  California’s complex water and wastewater infrastructure rely upon the knowledge, skills and abilities of a relatively small, highly trained and competent workforce to operate them around the clock.  Like our aging water and wastewater infrastructure, the workforce that operates these systems is similarly aging and retiring at a rapid rate. In the American Water Works Associate (AWWA) 2010 State of the Industry Report, workforce replenishment and institutional knowledge retention were listed as being among the top five concerns of water agencies nation-wide.  In recent years, AWWA researchers have coined the term “the Silver Tsunami” to describe the mass exodus they are predicting over the next 5 to 7 years, as nearly 40% of the highly experienced and technically skilled professionals operating the nation’s critical water treatment and distribution network transition into retirement.  With the lead time required to progress through the education and training steps of the mandatory operator certification processes required in this industry, it is critical that we step up our efforts now to fill the people pipeline supplying workers for this industry tomorrow.

This project in partnership with the Statewide California WaterWorks: Building the People Pipeline Industry Driven Regional Collaborative (IDRC) grant hopes to innovate, streamline, and become a catalyst for water education in California’s Community Colleges. The project will partner with local Workforce Investment Boards, community organizations, Economic Development Agencies, and the water industry to identify career paths and credentials. Through the discovery of these paths and associated credentials, the committee will make recommendations on core classes and the certification process. Community College programs in turn can utilize this information to provide clear pathways to students who will benefit from obtaining industry recognized stackable certificates throughout their longer degree or certificate coursework. The most innovative aspect of the project will be developing and recommending a device to promote the acquisition of certificates/credentials throughout the students degree or certificate program thus increasing their ability to work prior to graduation, further reinforce their education, and provide students with more certificates/credentials upon completion.  The project will commence in Quarter 1 and be active through Quarter 2.  The implications for Quadrant 4 will be a better prepared and more informed water workforce. Industry workers find it challenging to navigate testing, credentialing, and career pathways. This project hopes to address this very issue to help the workforce identify pathways and associated credentialing to more easily ladder out career opportunities for gainful employment.

For more information contact: Jonathan Kropp,

LearnUp Virtual Advisory Board

The California Community Colleges have partnered with Corporate Voices for Working Families, and LearnUp, a Silicon Valley technology firm, to help solve the skills gap in the United States. This partnership, recognized by the Clinton Global Initiative America as an innovative model for promoting economic recovery in the United States, is part of the California Community College’s “Doing what matters for the economy” campaign and is an excellent example of how business and education can work together to close the skills gap.

Through LearnUp's online job skills training platform users learn in-demand job skills directly from employers, track progress on a “skills resume,” and have the opportunity to receive job offers from some of the nation’s leading employers. Employers include Staples, Whole Foods, Gap, Safeway, KPMG, Prudential, and TeleTech.

The LearnUp platform begins to address the skills gap because it allows employers to communicate their competency needs directly with job seekers and to educational institutions like the California Community Colleges and organizations like Corporate Voices.   This transparency of needs in real-time enables the LearnUp platform to serve as a “virtual employer advisory board” and help guide the California Community Colleges and Corporate Voices for Working Families in the development of new programs, best practices, and career pathways that align with the needs of business and make a positive impact on the economy.

Partnerships like this one demonstrate the California Community Colleges commitment to meeting the needs of business through innovation, collaboration, and outreach.California Community College students are already engaged and receiving benefits. Students from Foothill College recently participated in beta testing of the LearnUp platform and several California Community Colleges are using LearnUp to help connect students with employment opportunities. Additionally, several Colleges are beginning to leverage the “Virtual Advisory Board” and connect with businesses to ensure programs align with their needs.

The Virtual Advisory Project was announced on June 8, 2012 at the Clinton Global Initiative America (CGI America) meeting and is scheduled to run continuously. The team is currently investigating opportunities to expand across multiple industry sectors and create a long-term solution for listening and responding to the needs of business.

For more information contact: Barbara Fanning,