By Staff Reports
(Victorville)– A forward-thinking group of educators and business partners led by Victor Valley College were awarded a $15 million California Career Pathways Trust grant by the California Department of Education today. The Victor Valley Community College District Consortium and its RAMP UP project received one of just 12 awards made at the highest funding level and was among almost 40 groups funded in total state wide. The Victor Valley Consortium received the only grant awarded within the Inland Empire.
The consortium includes five community colleges, 19 high schools, 4 charter schools and dozens of employers. The RAMP UP project focuses on seamless career technical training programs that start in high school, continue through college and result in jobs within five career pathways: Automotive / Diesel Maintenance, Aviation Maintenance, Energy and Utilities including Renewable Energy Technology, Healthcare and Manufacturing and Design. These fields are expected to provide high-wage, high-skill and high-growth job opportunities within the region served by this California Career Pathways Trust project.
“We have many pockets of success in the delivery of career pathways across our vast region, but they are currently isolated and some are incomplete,” said Ginger Ontiveros, Executive Director of the Victor Valley College Foundation which spearheaded the development of the grant proposal. “RAMP UP will not only help students to accelerate their journey from cradle to career, but it will also change the way our schools work together with business and industry to deliver the workforce of tomorrow.”
The cornerstone of the RAMP UP project is a network of teleconferencing classrooms that will facilitate cooperative classes and virtual workplace learning experiences for students within the region that stretches from San Bernardino to Barstow and Lucerne Valley to Lancaster. It further fuels greater collaboration among educators and employers to increase the attainment of industry-recognized certifications that are required in local careers.
The California Career Pathways Trust established a one-time $250 million competitive grant program to create sustained career pathway programs that connect businesses, K-12 schools, and community colleges to better prepare students for the 21st century workplace.
“To make good on our goal of a world-class education for every California student, they have to graduate with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the real world,” said State Superintendent of Schools Tom Torlakson. “By demonstrating the relevance of students’ education, these programs not only encourage kids to stay in school, but also combine the rigorous academics and the practical experience employers say they need.”
State officials received 123 eligible applications requesting more than $700 million in support, nearly triple the available funding. Applicants included community college districts, county offices of education, direct-funded charter schools and school districts from all over California.
In addition to Victor Valley College, the RAMP UP Project will include Antelope Valley College, Barstow Community College, Crafton Hills College, and San Bernardino Valley College. Participating High School Districts include Antelope Valley, Apple Valley, Barstow, Hesperia, Lucerne Valley, San Bernardino City, South Kern County, Snowline, Victor Valley, and Yucaipa-Calimesa. Charter Schools involved in the consortium include Excelsior Education Centers, the Lewis Center and The Palmdale Aerospace Academy.
The Victor Valley College Foundation is a resource development and public relations partner supporting educational opportunities at Victor Valley College.