By Robert A. Sewell
PIO/Director of Marketing/ASB Advisor
Victor Valley College
Victor Valley College (VVC) 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 400,000 people with over 25 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 “go to” organization when industry identifies a skill gap. The relationship between industry and Victor Valley College continues to strengthen as we work together to develop career partnerships that provide workers with the skills the economy needs most.
The college is responding to labor market demand with college students earning awards in 13 of the 50 jobs with the most openings in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. A high number of awards can be viewed for occupational titles such as: management analysts, general and operations managers, registered nurses, and automotive service technicians and mechanics. Although some of these titles require a bachelor’s degree, the first two years of study can be completed at the college.
In addition to its well-established career-technical programs, the college’s latest program developments have focused on future prospects in green industry sectors. Through general funding efforts, as well as outside funding sources, the college now offers training for the following: solar technicians, hybrid mechan ics, aviation mechanics, and wastewater technicians.
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 VVC offers 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.
Great strides have been made in the past year to complement our Academic Programs and offerings as enrollment remains healthy.
Two areas of note: the Victor Valley College Nursing and Paramedic Programs.
This Spring 2017, VVC entered into a cooperative relationship and agreement with Desert Valley Hospital, allowing 64 students to be taken off our nursing waiting list with all expenses paid. The program began this February with 16 students, and we will continue adding 16 each fall and spring term until the full 64 are served.
Additionally, we’re proud to announce the inaugural offering of an accelerated, hybrid, shift-based paramedic program that began January 7, 2017. This program is in addition to the two traditional paramedic programs currently offered and delivered by the EMS faculty and staff. The initial class demographics comprise 24 diverse students from four counties and employed by nine fire departments (state, county and municipal), two ambulance companies and local hospital emergency departments. The delivery model takes advantage of traditional and innovative on-line education methods, utilizing new national partnerships and existing, proven methods that produce the highest-quality paramedic graduates who will pass their national licensure exams and who will gain employment as paramedics within three to six months of completion.
Offering this style of paramedic program clearly benefits the employer and student by allowing departments and employers to maintain a consistent staffing pattern and a theoretical reduction of overtime coverage behind an employee attending class meetings. By only meeting on “B” shift days, students can meet their full or part-time employment obligations without straining or negatively impacting the system. This provides students with a buffer to maintaining their income and benefits (one of the largest strains and leading stressors contributing to unsuccessful completion by students in the traditional program). The benefits to the community are primarily focused around keeping these working professionals “on the floor” while attending school and, more importantly, keeping the students who work in this county in school in this county. Projections indicating demand for licensed paramedics in California for the next decade exceed 24% growth (reference: www.onetonline.org). Within San Bernardino County this is magnified significantly through the creation of new employment opportunities for paramedics (i.e. – San Bernardino County Fire’s ambulance operator program). These opportunities directly contribute to positive employment upon successful completion of an accredited paramedic program.
Victor Valley College Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and Fire Technology departments received their reaffirmation of accreditation notifications in 2016. The nursing department had their Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) Accreditation visit on November 8th and 9th and was granted another five_year accreditation.
The Victor Valley College accreditation site team visit, during the week of March 6th by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), went well and the college looks forward to a positive response, final notification to be provided after the June 2017 ACCJC meeting.
The next stages in supporting student success are well under way as VVC students have the benefit of new facilities and services and more coming this summer.
Interactive Student Orientation Video, VVC student email and a mobile application to access campus registration & student services will be rolling out Spring 2017. VVC has also partnered with EAB to enhance the onboarding process for students that will include Online education plans and allow for sustainable campus-wide change, benefiting student retention and persistence.
The opening of the Math Success Center complemented the successful Writing Center, in the Advanced Technology Center providing students with an increase in tutoring and support. Student tutoring will further expand with Foreign Language tutors and an Athlete study hall later in the spring.
A new look and feel to Victor Valley College is near as comprehensive campus and wayfinding signage has been approved by the Board of Trustees, a vendor selected and the initiation of the process beginning in April 2017.
This summer, beginning June 19, 2017, VVC will offer a “pilot” First Year Experience (FYE) program to our local high schools. Students in first-year programs are:
- twice as likely to earn their associate degrees within a three-year time period than students who are not in FYE.
- more likely to persist into their second year at Victor Valley College than students who are not in FYE.
- more likely to transfer to four-year universities than students who did not participate in FYE.
Veteran’s Resource Center
In Spring 2015 Victor Valley College opened a much needed Veterans Resource Center (VRC), located in the Student Activities Center. In addition to helping veteran students with certifying
some VA education benefits, the VRC provides counseling services, tutoring, a computer lab, and community workshops.
In January 2017 our Veteran Services moved to a much larger space on lower campus, offering our veteran students a much more open and comfortable space for them to be successful in college.
In February 2017 the new Automotive/Welding Vocational Complex was opened, providing a new vocational lab building on lower campus. It addresses the 2015 Master Plan recommendation to expand automotive labs, replace the original welding lab, and add classrooms to support vocational programs. The project, comprised of both new and remodeled construction, provided 4,677 ASF of remodeled auto/diesel mechanics labs; 5,040 ASF of new welding labs; 6,293 ASF of new lecture classrooms, a service writer area, and a state-certified smog program. The automotive building (Bldg 64) was built in 1970 and the welding building (Bldg 61) was built in 1980. These buildings are among the oldest on campus which placed them in dire need of an upgrade. 2011 Fall Semester research determined the welding lab was used at 150.6 percent of capacity and the auto lab was used at 546.3 percent of capacity. In a future project, the original welding lab (at 2,862 ASF) will be remodeled to provide additional auto repair space.
An architectural firm has been selected for a new Student Services “One Stop” Building sufficient to provide greater efficiency between related functions in serving our students, thereby freeing current space for reconversion to classrooms–solving the near-term classroom shortage. This new building will include counseling services, admissions & records, fiscal services, bursar’s office, EOPS, CalWorks and DSPS. Construction to begin in Spring 2018.