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More than 450 Imperial County high school students seeking careers in either law enforcement or allied health fields will receive a jump on their college education through 2018 as the result of a $5.8 million grant awarded to Imperial Valley College this week.

IVC was one of 40 institutions statewide to receive part of the $244 million in Career Pathways grants announced Wednesday by the Department of Education.

"To say we are thrilled is an understatement," said IVC President Dr. Victor Jaime. "This grant will be a major step in our efforts to enhance student success and open doors to higher education for our Valley," he said.

"The beauty of this program is that mid-way through high school, students can also start down their path to a college degree," he added.

The Career Pathways grants are designed to blend academic and career technical education, connect employers with schools and train students for jobs in high-demand fields, such as health care, advanced manufacturing, information technology and software development. The grants are provided through the California Career Pathways Trust (CCPT) program, which is the largest program of its kind in the nation. The program has provided nearly $500 million in career tech grants over two years.

IVC will be partnering with IVROP, the Imperial County Office of Education Alternative Education program and five local high school districts to offer students in their junior year the opportunity to earn college credit in the fields of Administration of Justice and Allied Health.
The participating school districts are Calexico Unified, Imperial Unified, Central Union, Holtville Unified and Brawley Union.

Dr. Martha Garcia, IVC special projects director, is administering the grant. She said the new program goes beyond existing law enforcement and health courses offered through articulation agreements between IVC and the high schools.
"This is going a step beyond and will take the college experience to the high schools. It will also bring the students to the IVC campus."

By the time they graduate from high school, those seeking careers in Administration of Justice will have 12 units of the 60 units needed for an Associate of Arts Transfer degree. Students in health fields will have the capability to obtain certification as either an Emergency Medical Technician, Home Health Aide or Certified Nursing Assistant during the summer of their senior year.

"This community is receiving a significant amount of funding to insure student success in college," said Garcia. "At the end of the day lots of students will be able to have a work-ready skill and a significant number of college credits as they enter IVC as freshmen."

The first 180 juniors will enter the program this fall with an additional 180 entering in both the 2016-17 and 2017-18 academic years, Garcia said.

The students will take college course work as well as a college success workshop on their high school campuses. They also will attend special academies on the IVC campus during the summer between their junior year as well as the summer of their senior year.

Summer work at IVC for the law enforcement students will include a law enforcement academy during both summers as well as 6 units of general education courses. An allied health academy will be held in the first summer for students in that program. The second summer, they will attend a special "preparing for your nursing career workshop" as well as take a home health aide and nursing mathematics course.

Allied health students also will be attending a conference for pre-medical and pre-health college majors at the University of California, Davis at the start of their program.

Included in the grant is equipment for both the high schools as well as IVC. A new "home health aide" laboratory is also slated for IVC. The lab, according to Garcia, will be located in a modular building and will simulate a house where students will learn home health aide skills.

Garcia said there are a number of community collaborators for the program. They include the Pioneers Memorial Healthcare District, El Centro Regional Medical Center, Imperial County Workforce Development Office, police departments from both the City of El Centro and City of Imperial and the Imperial County Sheriff's Office.

The state Legislature created the Career Pathways program in 2013 and allocated $250 million for the program in the state's 2013-14 budget. Last year, State Superintendent of Instruction Tom Torlakson awarded grants to 39 recipients. After seeing the program's popularity – the state received 123 applications requesting $709 million in CCPT grants last year – lawmakers approved an additional $250 million for this year.

For more information contact Bill Gay 760-427-2314.

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