Author Archives: Cari Craven

Columbia College Foundation plans Promise Program expansion

The Columbia College Foundation is pleased to announce an exciting expansion of its Columbia College Promise for local high school seniors enrolling at Columbia College. Starting in Fall 2020, the Promise program will make it possible for every qualified local public high school graduate to attend Columbia College fulltime, tuition free, for two full years of consecutive semesters if they enroll immediately after graduation.  The program service area will also expand to include high school graduates throughout the college service area which includes Oakdale and Waterford, and to Mariposa and Calaveras, both adjacent rural high school districts.

“Thanks to additional funding now available through the state’s California Promise program, the Foundation is very pleased to expand the program to cover a second year of college and a larger geographical area,” said Foundation President Colette Such. “We’re incredibly grateful to our private donors who helped us launch and sustain the Columbia College Promise, and to the college for continuing to invest this new state funding in this exceptionally successful program. “

In 2018, the program’s first year, 185 local high school graduates took advantage of the free tuition offer. Demonstrating the program’s success, in 2019, full time enrollment of local high school graduates expanded to 214 students.  In Tuolumne County, the response has been especially successful with more than 45% of Sonora High’s Class and 50% of Summerville and Tioga High School’s Class enrolling as fulltime students and taking advantage of the free tuition offer.

Though still in its infancy, the Columbia College Promise program is already exceeding expectations.

“We have been overwhelmed with the response to this program and are encouraged with its growing success.  It is clear that we are meeting an important need in our community,” Such said.

Columbia College President Santanu Bandyopadhyay added his support.  “We are grateful for the financial support of private donors that launched this program and are pleased that the College can support program expansion.   We are confident that the Promise program will contribute greatly to the College’s goal of building an educated work force.  When the community and the college work together, great things happen. “

The goal of the Promise program is to remove the tuition barrier that often stops promising young high school graduates from pursuing their education while connecting them to support services to help ensure success.  The intent is to increase the number of local high school graduates who attend Columbia College, thereby boosting the population of workforce-ready young adults who complete a degree, certificate or training program, or successfully transfer to a 4-year college.

Additional information on the program expansion will be posted on the Columbia College website and Facebook pages, and will be available to families in October, through their school counselors.

While state funding has allowed the Promise expansion, local donor support is still an essential element to keep the program going.  As with all programs of this nature, continuation is dependent on the availability of state funding, support from the college, and donations from generous contributors.

Contributions for the Promise Scholarship program and other Foundation projects are always welcome.

To join the effort or learn more, contact Amy Nilson, Director of Development at Columbia College at (209) 588-5055 or nilsona@yosemite.edu or visit www.gocolumbia.edu/foundation.

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Columbia College Foundation, founded in 1972, is a nonprofit organization that promotes quality higher education that enriches the academic, economic, and cultural life of our community. The mission is to promote student success by providing community resources that support and expand educational opportunities for Columbia College students.

Columbia College Awarded $100,000 State Grant for Currently and Formerly Incarcerated Students Reentry Program

Columbia College has received an Intent to Award Notification for a $100,000 grant to support the expansion and improvement of the College’s programs serving currently and formerly incarcerated students. The grant is being awarded by the California Community College Chancellor’s Office (CCCCO) Division of Educational Services and has a performance period of two years, six months beginning on July 1, 2019 and ending on December 31, 2021.

Over the past four years Columbia College has worked closely with Sierra Conservation Center (SCC) to expand educational opportunities for incarcerated students. The college started with a small pilot program at SCC, providing a few face-to-face courses and academic and career counseling to 40 incarcerated students in the fall of 2015. Enrollment has since grown to approximately 300 students in the spring of 2019 at the main prison and four prison fire camps.

In addition to the fast-growing prison education program, Columbia College has also launched the Making Alternative Transformations (MAT) program, a complementary on-campus program designed to assist formerly incarcerated or justice involved students to transition to the campus and the community. The goal has been to provide high-quality higher education programs which are responsive to their unique needs, while providing additional services to support their efforts to reintegrate into their communities.

“Expanding educational opportunities to the incarcerated students is an area of focus for Columbia College. We have more than doubled the number of courses offered at Sierra Conservation Center during the last year, remarked Dr. Santanu Bandyopadhyay, President of Columbia College. “Although the growth is impressive, there is still a large segment of the incarcerated population who do not have access to education. Having access to education helps the students prepare for life once they are free and helps reduce recidivism rate. We are delighted to have this grant that will enable us to expand our services further.”

Dr. Brandon Price, Dean of Student Services, will oversee the implementation of the grant.  He explained “This grant will enable the college to better meet the needs of the justice involved students we currently serve, while also enabling us to serve additional students from inmate firefighting camps, local jails, and day reporting agencies.”  Activities to be funded by the grant include: providing faculty and staff access to training related to the specific needs of justice-involved students; expanding transition services, such as college and career counseling; and expanding peer tutoring and mentoring programs serving justice involved students at SCC and on the Columbia College campus.

This award will allow Columbia College to continue build upon the framework of their Justice-Involved Student Reentry Program and provide necessary supports which will increase opportunity and access to currently and formerly incarcerated students, increase retention rates, support strong academic performance by program participants, promote informed and appropriate pathway goals and objectives, and build long-term and sustainable transition programs for justice-involved students in the area.

For more information, contact Brandon Price, Dean of Student Services at 209-588-5142.

 

Columbia College Awarded $500,000 State Grant for Forestry and Natural Resources Apprenticeship Initiative

Columbia College has received formal notification of the intent to award a 33-month grant to develop another new apprenticeship program in Forestry and Natural Resources, beginning in Fall 2019. Columbia College is currently implementing hospitality and child development apprenticeships as well as a fire science pre-apprenticeship with similar grant funding and is excited about expanding opportunities to other industries that are in need of a well-trained workforce.  Applications for the existing apprenticeship programs are still being accepted.

The new award, just announced by the California Community College Chancellor’s Office (CCCCO) Workforce and Development Division, is part of the California Apprenticeship Initiative, aimed at broadening the range of apprenticeship programs available to California workers through Prop 98 funding.

“Columbia College is strategically located in the Yosemite Valley where Fire and Forestry is a way of life”, said Dr. Santanu Bandyopadhyay, President of Columbia College. “The recent increase in devastating fires across the state emphasizes the need for active forest management. With the well-established programs in Fire Science and Forestry, Columbia College is in a position to take a leadership role in Fire and Forest Management. This grant will help advance the apprenticeship programs tremendously”.

The grant will fund the development of the Columbia College Forestry and Natural Resources Apprenticeship, that will give up to 25 students the opportunity to “earn while they learn” at partnering Forestry and Natural Resource employers Greater Valley Conservation Corps and Sierra Resource Management. Designed with input from the sponsoring employers, the program is modeled on European apprenticeships, blending classroom instruction and on-the-job training in a compressed program. Apprentices will work as Forest Conservation Technicians and at the conclusion of the 18-month program will receive a Certificate of Completion from the Division of Apprenticeship Standards as well as a Skills Attainment Certificate from Columbia College in the Management and Restoration of Fire-Adapted Ecosystems. The grant funding covers all tuition, books, and related costs for apprentices while they attend Columbia College and the employers pay their wages.

The college will receive $500,000 over the two years and nine months to implement the curriculum, receive approval of the apprenticeships through the California Division of Apprentice Standards, enroll students, and launch the training at partnering work sites.

Along with the already-committed employer partners, the Tuolumne County Superintendent of Schools also expressed support.

Dr. Klaus Tenbergen, Dean of Career Technical Education and Economic Development, will oversee development and implementation of these new apprenticeships starting in late 2019. He enthuses, “Forestry and Natural Resources is one of Columbia College’s signature programs, and we are excited to expand local apprenticeship opportunities into this high-demand field. The California Apprenticeship Initiative continues to have a positive impact on our local workforce and economy.”

Apprentices will rotate through different professional areas at partnering sites over an 18-24 month period, receiving comprehensive training in a range of activities associated with each industry. Safety training and essential job skills will be incorporated throughout. Apprentices will complete a minimum of 2,000 hours of employer-paid on-the-job training, while completing 288 instructional hours as college students. If students desire, they may continue with additional coursework toward an Associate’s degree.

Additional Forestry and Natural Resource agencies and businesses who may be interested in partnering with Columbia College are encouraged to contact Dr. Tenbergen:

 

Dr. Klaus Tenbergen

Dean of Career Technical Education & Economic Development

tenbergenk@yosemite.edu

Office: 209.588.5142

http://gocolumbia.edu/career_technical

COLUMBIA WINE TASTING NEWS

Columbia College tradition will take a one-year break – Plans to refresh For 2020

After 42 years as a springtime tradition, the Columbia Wine Tasting will take a break this spring to allow organizers at the Columbia College Hospitality Management Program to refresh the event, and bring it back with a new look and feel in 2020.

“Event founder Tom Bender, is stepping back from his event duties after four successful decades,” said Columbia College Hospitality Management Coordinator Don Dickinson. “We’re grateful for all of his efforts, and are going to take some time now to regroup and reimagine the event.

Bender, recognized statewide for his wine expertise, will continue as an adjunct Hospitality Management instructor at the college. Bender originally created and coordinated the Columbia Wine Tasting as a benefit for the Columbia College Hospitality Management program while he was the assistant manager and eventual manager of the City Hotel in Columbia State Park. He worked with the State Park, dozens of wineries across the state, and many volunteers to build the event into a unique showcase for premium California wineries that drew hundreds of attendees each spring.

The event raises funds for hospitality student scholarships, as well as program equipment and supplies, and has been co-hosted by the Columbia College Foundation.

Dickinson said he and his colleagues will use this next year to bring in some new ideas and partners. “So many exciting things are happening in the food-and-beverage world,” Dickinson said. “Look for us to come back with a great new event next year!”

For more information, contact the Columbia College Hospitality Program at 209-588-5142.

Columbia College Child Development Tea Party Fundraiser

The Columbia College Child Development Department and the Child Development Future Educators Club invite you to the 3rd annual Tea Party Fundraiser.  The festive family-friendly event will be held on Friday, March 15, 2019, from 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. in the Maple Building.  Students, former students, staff and faculty will serve up treats and a variety of teas to support students and student teachers in the child development field.  Funds go toward fingerprinting for students applying for teaching permits, a scholarship through the Columbia College Foundation, and student activities.

Please see our website http://columbiacollegeteaparty.weebly.com/  for more information and to purchase tickets.  Tickets are $25.00 for adults and $10.00 for children.  We hope to see you there!

 

For more information, contact:

Kelly Thomas, Child Care Center Manager

PH: (209) 588-5024

Email: thomask@yosemite.edu

Come and Eat Our Homework!

 This spring, Columbia College culinary students invite the public to “come and eat their homework” at the Cellar Bistro, located on the first level of the Manzanita Building. The Cellar Bistro will be open Wednesday evenings starting at 5:00 p.m. from January 30 to April 24, 2019.  The menu will offer international cuisine specials, NY steak, pan roasted chicken breast, salmon filet, and a vegetarian option. Dinner is by reservation only, please contact the Cellar Bistro at (209) 588-5300.