By Robert A. Sewell, PIO/Director of Marketing/ASB Advisor, Victor Valley College
Victor Valley College (VVC), now in its 57th year, serves an area encompassing roughly 2,200 square miles and is located on a 253-acre campus at the center of the three major communities of the Victor Valley (Apple Valley, Hesperia and Victorville). VVC serves the cities and communities of the High Desert; Adelanto, Apple Valley, Helendale, Hesperia, Lucerne Valley, Oro Grande, Phelan, Piñon Hills, Silver Lakes, Spring Valley Lake, Victorville and Wrightwood. VVC also features a 13-acre Regional Public Safety Training Center (RPSTC) in Apple Valley and an Aviation program at Southern California Logistics Airport (SCLA). In total a population base of approximately 420,000 people with over 30 feeder high schools and diploma-granting institutions rely on VVC for their educational needs and opportunities.
What’s happened in the last 25 years is an increase in how much community colleges are involved in job training and economic development. “We are the Place to Be” when industry identifies a skill gap. The relationship between industry and Victor Valley College continues to strengthen as we work together as a catalyst to develop career partnerships that provide workers with the skills the economy needs most.
Victor Valley College is the primary source of workforce training in the Victor Valley. Our career technical programs teach fundamental skills that employers in almost every corner of the region need, and they offer more than 100 certification programs to ensure our graduates are marketable employees. Victor Valley College also offers customized training to help companies train up their employees in specialized skills they need in order to be more profitable.
A cause for celebration is the recently received 2018 Strong Workforce Stars, a special Chancellor’s Office recognition recognizing career education programs whose students show significant gains in factors important for advancing social mobility – a substantial increase in earnings, attainment of a living wage and a job closely matched with the field of study. Ten Victor Valley College career education programs were acknowledged: Welding, Automotive Technology, Child Development, Construction Crafts Technology, Respiratory Therapy, Medical Assisting, Office Technology, Nursing, Fire Technology and Paramedic program.
The Dual Enrollment Program at VVC, which has established partnerships with local high school districts to bolster the number of college-ready or career technical education students, has grown from 8 partners to 11 this year. In the Fall 2017 semester, 365 high school students were enrolled, allowing them to take VVC classes at their own school. This number increased to 609 enrollments in Spring 2018 and nearly twice as many class sections.
Announced in February 2018, VVC is pleased to announce the Pathway to Law School Program, which students will be able to enter beginning Fall 2018 as a LAW Scholar. Pathway program enrollees may select and pursue any major offered at VVC. The program provides the student with special attention during their time at VVC to develop success skills as well as during the transfer and application process to undergraduate partner schools. Partnering schools include: University of Southern California, Loyola Marymount, Santa Clara University, University of San Francisco, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCLA & UC Berkeley. Other benefits include mentoring, recognition as a LAW scholar, transcript distinction, waiver of application fees to the partner
Since the opening of the Automotive/ Welding Vocational Complex, the Automotive department has been able to open new Engine and Transmission rebuilding “clean” rooms, modular diagnostic tool storage, brakes, alignment & suspension rooms and provide a working Service Center lab. In addition, ten new automotive guided pathways have been structured that provide all students with a set of clear course-taking patterns that promote better enrollment decisions. These are clear curricular pathways that lead to employment and further education.
For the past year and a half, An Introduction to Aviation Maintenance four-unit college credit “survey course” has been offered to students from Excelsior Charter School, Victor Valley High School, and students from the Snowline Joint Unified School District. So far, four academies have been run, supporting 100 high school students. This allows students to explore aviation for a semester to see if it is a good fit for them without having to make a two-year commitment to a full blown, technical career training program.
RegisteredNursing.org ranked the Victor Valley College Nursing Program No. 4 in California and praised the college for producing graduates that are “ready to work” as a member of “the health care team.” Registered Nursing also recognized VVC as a leader in educating “generations of individuals while building successful communities.”
The ranking methodology for RegisteredNursing.org included measuring NCLEX-RN “pass rates” out of the 131 RN programs in the state. Programs reviewed included 4-year schools that offer an Associate degree in nursing or Direct-Entry MSN Degrees. NCLEX-RN pass rates were analyzed going back to the most recent years of data available up to five years. Schools’ pass rates were averaged together and weighted by the recency of the exam.
During Spring Break 2018, the VVC campus will begin to receive a comprehensive “Signage/Wayfinding” make-over. This will include the removal of existing signage and addition of You are Here (YAH) Maps, Parking Lot Re-naming & Labelling, Vehicular and Pedestrian Wayfinding, additional building identification and Interior Wayfinding & Room Identification.
Beginning with the November 2018 election, Victor Valley College Board of Trustees will be elected by trustee-area elections. Any candidate running for election or re‐election to the VVC Board of Trustees in 2018 will need to live in the district they seek to represent. Three current members who were elected in 2016 will continue to serve until 2020 and then will run in their new districts.
One “huge” American Cancer Society Relay For Life is scheduled to take place at Victor Valley College. This year’s two-day event will begin May 19, combining Apple Valley, Hesperia and Victorville relays into Relay For Life of the High Desert.
This summer, construction will begin on a new 26,860-square foot Student Services Center that will provide a symbolic “Front Door” to the college, beyond just a “One Stop.” The new Student Services Center will integrate support services in ways that make it easier for students to get the help they need during every step of their college experience. Included in this building: Admissions & Records, Assessment, ACCESS, Bursar’s Office, CalWORKS, Career Center, Counseling, EOPS and the Financial Aid department. Besides providing greater efficiency between related functions in serving our students, current space will be freed up for reconversion to classrooms – solving the near- term classroom shortage.
Throughout the entire design process, student input was a pivotal factor, including their insight gathered from several visits to other community college campuses. The new building will utilize a “multiple prime delivery method,” which breaks the project up into approximately 16 or more divisions of work. This method eliminates the role of a general contractor and allows the individual scope of work packages to be bid directly to the district. Victor Valley College’s goal is to maximize opportunities for local subcontractors, suppliers and vendors on construction projects at VVC and ensure maximum participation of local businesses and workers in all phases of our campus projects. In early March, VVC, DLR Group and California Construction Management, Inc. held a meeting to allow local contractors to learn about the pre-qualification process, bonding, safety program and additional upcoming partnership opportunities with VVC.