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Tuesday, Feb 7, 2023

Santa Clarita College at Head of Class

College of the Canyons was the second-fastest growing community college in the nation last year and it wasn’t all about the three R’s – reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmentic. A good portion of that growth can be traced to the Santa Clarita school’s employment training program, which has trained some 5,000 workers for nearly 870 businesses. The school’s Economic Development Division has a half-dozen programs, and also provides business and export consulting for its client businesses. The programs, overseen by Joe Klocko, dean of economic development, have brought in more than $3 million for the college this year. “We’re a known commodity,” said Klocko. “We get a lot of support from the business community. By giving them the resources they need to make their employees better employees, they’re more willing to give back to us.” Last month, Community College Week magazine ranked the college second nationally in enrollment growth for the 2013 to 2014 academic year. Enrollment hit 18,508 students, a nearly 22 percent increase from the prior academic year. One beneficiary of the college’s penchant for job training is Solid Concepts Inc., a 3-D manufacturing company in Valencia. Employees have taken computer programing classes, inspection courses and other training through the college within the past 10 years. “It benefits the business because a lot of the employees we send to the classes have no previous experience or formal education in a lot of those topics,” said Boettger Claus, the company’s human resource manager. “We do performance appraisals every year and for those employees who excel they might get a raise (or) have the option to move up into higher level positions.” Claus said Solid Concepts has quintupled revenues in the last decade, and he attributes a lot of that growth to the technical training employees received through the college. “We are really resourceful and what distinguishes us from some is we rely and believe in the power of partnership,” said Chancellor Dianne Van Hook. “We have (many) partnerships with non-profits and businesses.” Van Hook also attributes the enrollment growth to the steady stream of private funding that allows the college to maintain its offerings even during economic downturns. This year, the college has raised more than $9 million in external capital. “Our goal was to not cut any classes or programs that were serving our community,” she said. – Champaign Williams

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