Category: Education

VOLT and MJC programs get $1 million grant. It could mean higher-paying jobs for area

 

Almost $1 million in federal grant funds will boost occupational training at the VOLT Institute and Modesto Junior College.

The Economic Development Administration approved the $980,750 grant for Opportunity Stanislaus, whose mission is improving economic vitality in Stanislaus County.

The grant money will purchase cutting-edge equipment used in training programs at the VOLT center and MJC.

The VOLT Institute on 13th Street trains young adults to work as maintenance mechanics in local industries and has a career accelerator program. The trade school was created through a partnership between Opportunity Stanislaus and the county Office of Education.

“The feedback we keep getting from employers is that our program is solid but that having equipment in the classroom similar to the machines students will be using in the field after graduation is essential to their success,” said David White, chief executive officer of Opportunity Stanislaus, in a news release.

MJC also is adding training equipment for its career technical education programs that partner with high schools.

Assemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced, managed to get $1 million for the local training programs in last year’s state budget, and that money served as a match that’s required for the EDA grant. The Economic Development Administration is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Rep. Josh Harder, D-Turlock, urged the EDA to approve the application for building a skilled work force in the Northern San Joaquin Valley. The agency’s competitive grant process has resulted in only one other grant award for the region: $140,000 awarded to Riverbank in 2010.

Warren Kirk, chief executive officer of Doctors Medical Center, said in the news release that the federal grant is “a great example of what our region can accomplish when we work together in support of economic development.”

Liberty High School working on new Career Technical Education facility

MADERA COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) — In the Madera Ranchos, off Avenue 12 something big is coming.

A small sign is sharing the news, “Coming Soon; the new Liberty High School Engineering, Agri-Science and Farming Academy,” known as LEAF.

It will be the first facility of its kind in the Golden Valley School District.

Seven new classrooms, four barns for livestock, three shops and greenhouses are just some of the major additions coming with the expansion. All of it benefiting the agriculture department, community and beyond.

“It is just a culmination of everything coming together and that shows that when this community is behind something, it ends up happening,” said Golden Valley School District superintendent Rodney Wallace.

Ag teacher and department head Anne Deniz said currently they are in need of more resources to meet student needs. She is a former Liberty High student and according to her, one of the biggest demands is space for livestock.

“When we have our livestock animals at students homes or they are sharing homes with each other it can be a five, six, eight hour day get to them all and weigh and see them and check up on those projects,” she said.

The new facility also means more classroom space and for Mrs.Deniz that’s a big deal. One of her classes involves making floral arrangements, her students also run a flower shop.

Currently, the school has about 560 students and only three Agricultural teachers. Ag is big in the community and Principal Felipe Piedra said the new facility will create new opportunities.

“We are pretty excited about that for our kids to be able to get some training and education here locally and preparing them for the bigger world,” he said.

The LEAF academy was funded through bond and grant dollars. Initially, it was slated to be completed in 2025, but it is all coming together much sooner in the year 2022. The district expects to break ground sometime next year.

https://abc30.com/education/liberty-high-school-working-on-new-career-technical-education-facility-/5450336/

State, local leaders tour Merced Unified’s CTE programs

 

 

By Sara Sandrik

Monday, September 16, 2019 8:27PM

ATWATER, Calif. (KFSN) — Atwater High School has the largest ag education program in the country, with everything from floral design to diesel mechanics.

Monday, students and teachers had a chance to show why they’ve been successful and what state leaders can do to support districts across California.

From welding to woodwork to horticulture and more, Atwater High had a chance to show State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond how students here are improving their academic and career skills.

“It’s really great exposure and getting all these higher officials who kind of control what we have as a school and what we do as students to really appreciate our program and what just students can do,” said high school senior Sophia Rhodes.

Thurmond was invited to the Merced Union High School District by Assemblymember Adam Gray and was joined on this tour by State Board of Education Member Ting Sun, Senator Anna Caballero, and several local leaders.

“All this equipment that you see that you would expect adults to be driving and getting paid, no these are run by students,” said Dave Gossman.

“I hope to get some ideas today as we walk around and talk to the local experts, and I’m really proud of Merced, the Central Valley, agriculture, and the Merced Union High School District, for all the great things we’re doing,” Gray said.

The district has been at the forefront of the statewide shift toward career technical education and currently offers more than 30 different CTE pathways.

Starting with the class of 2020, all MUHSD students are required to complete at least two CTE courses.

“It’s important for our college-bound students so they understand and get a little exposure to industry before they go to college so they might have a better idea of why they’re going to college,” said Superintendent Alan Peterson. “And then students who are going into the work world, we want them to leave us with those skills.”

Thurmond spoke about the recent increases in state funding for public education and CTE but says more can be done to ensure students are ready for bright futures in high demand fields.

“This is a great opportunity. Every student in our state should have this opportunity, and I’m committed to oing everything I can to make sure that happens,” he said.

https://abc30.com/education/state-local-leaders-tour-merced-unifieds-cte-programs/5544604/

CSUB ranks among top in country in science field salaries

Cal State Bakersfield is in the top tier for salaries in the physical and life sciences in the country, according to a new report by PayScale.

The 2019-20 College Salary Report ranked CSUB at 75 of 543 physical and life science programs evaluated for the report, putting the university in the top 14 percent. Statewide, CSUB placed third in this area within the CSU system.

“Our graduates earn top salaries because employers recognize the value of a CSUB education,” said Kathleen Madden, dean of the School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Engineering. “We are rightly proud of the role that we play in changing the future for our students while meeting the STEM workforce needs of Kern County and beyond.”

The annual PayScale report is based on the salaries of 3.5 million college graduates.

CSUB ranks among top in country in science field salaries

Fresno State again ranks 3rd in U.S. News for graduate-rate performance

Courtesy of Fresno State News; by BoNhia Lee

For the third consecutive year, Fresno State has placed among the top three best public universities for graduate-rate performance in U.S. News and World Report’s 2020 Best College rankings issued today.

Fresno State scored third-highest among public national universities and was No. 4 overall in the national universities category, improving from the No. 5 spot last year.

The graduation-rate performance category uses the University’s actual six-year graduation rate compared to predicted performance based on admissions data, school financial resources, the proportion of federal financial aid recipients who are first-generation, math and science orientations and the proportion of undergraduates receiving Pell grants.

The first-generation variable is new for this year’s rankings and gives schools more credit for their graduation rates when accomplished.

“At Fresno State, we believe that talent exists in every household,” said Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro. “These rankings show that, through educating and empowering our students to obtain an academic degree, we are unleashing this talent to prepare a new generation of bold leaders for the Central Valley, the state and beyond.”

Fresno State’s quality and affordable education also was reflected in other categories of the U.S. News and World Report rankings.

  • The University ranked No. 6 for having the least debt load at graduation among public national universities and No. 18 among all national universities. Forty-one percent of the students who graduated in 2019 will have an average debt of $15,772 compared to the national average student debt of $29,475.
  • Fresno State moved up to No. 101 in overall rankings for public universities compared to No. 112 last year. San Diego State University is the only other California State University campus ranked on the list at No. 68.
  • In the new social-mobility category measuring how well schools graduate students who receive federal Pell Grants, meaning they come from low- and medium-income households, Fresno State ranked No. 27 ahead of San Diego State, which came in No. 66.

Fresno State’s reclassification as a Carnegie doctoral university in 2016 means it joined the top research universities in the nation in rankings produced by the magazine. Fresno State offers doctoral degrees in nursing, physical therapy and educational leadership.

U.S. News and World Report evaluates campuses on multiple factors for its overall national ranking. The magazine gives the most weight to graduation and retention rates followed by faculty resources, academic reputation, financial resources, student excellence and alumni giving.

This year, the number of ranked universities grew as a result of changes in the Carnegie classifications. A slew of regional universities joined the national rankings category increasing the field of competition.

In other rankings

The U.S. News and World Report rankings follows last month’s announcement of Fresno State as No. 24 in Washington Monthly’s annual nationwide college rankings. The Washington D.C.-based magazine calls attention to colleges that best serve the community ranking institutions on social mobility, research and service.

This is the fourth straight year Fresno State has ranked in Washington Monthly’s top 25. Fresno State was the only California State University campus selected alongside six Ivy League institutions, including top-ranked Stanford University; six University of California campuses; and MIT on the list.

The University also ranked No. 35 in MONEY Magazine’s 50 Best Public Colleges rankings for 2019. Fresno State was one of 12 California State University campuses included in the top 50.

Note: If you would like to share this story on your social media accounts, please link to the news story on FresnoStateNews.com.

CSUB geology department leading the pack


For students at the CSUB geology department, times have never been busier.

While they look at a wide variety of topics, much work is also being done studying things that have an impact on the everyday lives of people right here in the Central Valley.

Following the events in Ridgecrest, one of the obvious is earthquakes.

“How earthquakes have influenced the geomorphology of the valley, of particular areas. How those earthquakes initiate landslides. What’s happened in the past, and what can happen in the future,” Dr. Anthony Rathburn, the chair of department, said.

And the department’s hard work has certainly paid off.

Over the past few months, several geology students have won a series of prestigious scholarships and awards, and even been asked to speak at nationally acclaimed geological events.

For many of the students, it’s the teachers who make the difference.

“What I love is that they’re overly enthusiastic about geology. And that is what I want to learn about. And it just makes the students, and myself, excited,” Toni Ramirez, a graduate student, said.

But as far as Dr. Rathburn is concerned, it’s all just a part of the job.

“We have fantastic potential. And I view it as the department’s job, as my job to bring the potential out in those students to enable them to reach their goals.”

https://bakersfieldnow.com/news/local/csub-geology-department-leading-the-pack

CSUB named 6th Best Bang for the Buck by Washington Monthly

Back to School
Students make their way across the Cal State Bakersfield campus during the first day of school Monday.

Cal State Bakersfield is a top choice among students looking for a quality education without spending a fortune on tuition — so much so that the university has been recognized as being among the West’s top 10 Best Bangs for the Buck.

CSUB ranked No. 6 in the category for the 2019 Washington Monthly College Rankings. The university also ranked No. 17 out of 200 for its graduate school.

“The Washington Monthly ranking is one that we’re particularly proud of because it’s for universities like ours that are mission-driven, that are working typically with students from the region that are coming to us for a hope for their future,” CSUB President Lynnette Zelezny said. “We’re happy we are able to really show off the great work that our faculty and staff are doing to support students who are largely first in their family to go to college.”

In order to keep the rankings in the future, Zelezny said her goal is to keep tuition and student fees down.

Washington Monthly said it focused on showing which colleges “do a good job promoting social mobility” and helping low-income and first-generation students with its Best Bang for the Buck ranking.

According to statistics provided by Washington Monthly, the net price of attendance for families below $75,000 income at CSUB is $5,119. Additionally, 77 percent of full-time undergraduates received need-based scholarship or grant aid during the 2017-2018 academic year.

Twelve other Cal State universities appear in the top 30 of the West rankings.

Getting into the top 20 for both cost and master’s degree categories could help CSUBboost enrollment and bring in a diverse group of students from all around California and the country.

“You’ll find we have a welcoming environment, personal touch, dedicated faculty and staff that will make sure you’re successful,” Zelezny said. “We’re proud of our programs, academics and athletics, we’re rising together and this is a university that’s on the map.”

Other California schools that made the top 10 for Best Bang for the Buck include Stanford University (No. 2), Cal State Stanislaus (No. 3), Cal State Los Angeles (No. 5), Cal State Northridge (No. 8) and Cal State Long Beach (No. 10). For other rankings, visit https://washingtonmonthly.com/2019college-guide.

https://www.bakersfield.com/news/csub-named-th-best-bang-for-the-buck-by-washington/article_ad7b6336-c915-11e9-820b-e7ba301a43aa.html

Kern quickly rises to become California’s top hemp-producing county

As of Friday afternoon, the county’s Agricultural Commissioner’s Office had registered 33 different entities planning to grow hemp on 76 sites comprising 6,864 acres, a county-wide total the agency said eclipses every other in the state.

With interest skyrocketing among local and out-of-town investors, there is some concern the boom in hemp cultivation could lead to a glut of material to produce the trendy cure-all cannabidiol, or CBD. But the plant itself is versatile enough that market participants are hopeful the crop is here to stay.

“I’d like to see this become a crop on your top-10 list in Kern County,” said Arvin-area hemp grower Kent Stenderup. The diversified farmer said he gets phone calls every week from people interested in contracting his company to grow the plant or show them how to do it themselves.

So many people have contacted county ag officials about their intentions of growing hemp locally that such inquiries now take about 80 percent of their time, said Cerise Montanio, deputy director of Kern’s Agricultural Commissioner’s Office.

WIDE INTEREST

State records show Kern hemp registrations have been issued to companies with mailing addresses as far away as Encino. Companies with names like CA Hempire and Freedom Farms LLC have gotten approval to grow on various parcels concentrated in the Lamont and Arvin area.

Questions remain as to how well-rooted the plant is locally. Montanio said harvesting techniques remain experimental and that it’s still unclear how many of the hemp fields being grown now will meet the requirement that the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol, accounts for no more than about one-third of 1 percent of the plant’s chemistry.

“It’s a tricky little game,” she said, adding that any plant testing greater than that THC threshold must be destroyed.

HANDS-OFF APPROACH

One reason Kern has attracted so much interest, she said, is the county’s accommodating regulations. Other counties have caps on how much acreage may be used to produce hemp, while others ban cultivation of the plant altogether, she said. But not Kern.

“We don’t have a moratorium. We don’t have ordinances,” she said.  “We are allowing it.”

She and Stenderup expressed worries the surge of interest in CBD oil may quickly lead to over-planting. Stenderup said he hopes the situation doesn’t soon create a market “bubble.”

Even if the CBD market doesn’t need as much hemp as is being grown, though, Montanio said the plant’s strong fiber could prove useful for things like textiles, straws and even automobile parts.

ADDED BENEFITS

On the other hand, Kern’s openness to the crop may allow it to capitalize on another aspect of the CBD trend: oil processing.

The director of the county’s Planning and Natural Resources Department, Lorelei Oviatt, noted that hemp plants may be turned into oil within the county’s borders, but that this activity can only take place legally on land zoned for agricultural use. Once that’s done, however, the oil can be processed into creams or lotions on non-ag real estate.

She was optimistic hemp’s relatively low consumption of water would help Kern farmers weather upcoming restrictions on groundwater pumping. Plus, the need to extract oil from the crop is already bringing underused ag processing plants in the Arvin area back to life.

Here’s where Fresno State ranks on a list for colleges that best serve the country

 

Fresno State has once again been ranked in the top 25 universities in the country by Washington Monthly magazine.

The school has met that bar for four straight years, landing this year at No. 24 out of 395 institutions of higher education, according to the magazine.

Also on that list are six Ivy League schools, six University of California campuses, MIT and top-ranked Stanford University.

Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro said the school is proud to be recognized as a leading public university for expanding opportunities to diverse students and conducting beneficial research, according to a news release.

“Just as importantly, these rankings place a premium on public service, which transforms our surrounding communities, where more than 80% of our alumni choose to stay and work,” Castro said.

Washington Monthly uses criteria for what it calls “a different kind of college ranking,” focusing on colleges that best serve the country. Some of the highlights included:

▪ An increasing number of undergraduates have opportunities to work with faculty on research at Fresno State, according to the news release. A record $45 million in research grants and contracts were awarded to the university last year.

▪ Thousands of students, faculty and staff provided more than 1 million hours of volunteer service to the community every year for the past decade.

▪ Nearly 6,000 students, about 63% of whom are the first in their families to go to college, graduated from Fresno State in May. That’s the largest class in the school’s history.

Some of the schools on the list are wealthy and can provide low-income students financial aid and support, but that model is hard to replicate for many universities, the release said.

“Real improvement will mean following the example of institutions like (Fresno State), our 24th-ranked national university, which enrolls an unusually large number of low-income and first-generation students and helps them graduate into good-paying jobs,” the magazine said.

The university two weeks ago ranked No. 35 in Money Magazine’s top 50 “Best Public Colleges”list, which measures the affordability of nationally competitive institutions.

Fresno State enrolled about 23,622 students this fall and about 89% are from the Central Valley, according to numbers from the university. The school looks to open up admissions to about 1,000 more upper-division transfer students this spring.

https://www.fresnobee.com/news/local/education/article234392387.html

This community college in Stockton has been named one of the best in the country

 

SAN JOAQUIN DELTA COLLEGE

San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton was recently named the fourth best community college in the United States.

WalletHub, a personal finance website, analyzed 710 community colleges across the country on a variety of merits and found that the nearby school was the best in California.

Local colleges in the Los Rios Community College District made the list as well, with Folsom Lake College placing 118th overall and 18th in California, American River College placing 148th overall and 22nd in California, Sacramento City College placing 186th overall and 28th in California, Sierra College placing 253rd overall and 40th in California, and Cosumnes River College placing 397th overall and 60th in California.

WalletHub’s ranking is based on tuition costs – San Joaquin Delta College received praise for its affordability – educational outcomes and career outcomes.

The Stockton community college tied for third lowest in-state tuition along with American River College, Sacramento City College and Folsom Lake College.

San Joaquin Delta College’s enrollment fees for California residents are just $46 per unit, which adds up to $552 for a full academic load of 12 units.

The community college was beat out by State Technical College of Missouri in first place overall, Arkansas State University, Mountain Home in second place and Southern Arkansas University Tech in third.

These three colleges received higher marks from WalletHub in terms of educational outcomes, though still were given lower scores for cost, and the top two were given higher marks for career outcomes. San Joaquin Delta College was given a significantly better score for career outcomes than Southern Arkansas University Tech.

https://www.fresnobee.com/news/california/article234221017.html