VC President tells GMSP of Ventura Promise, East Campus survey

October 24, 2007
Santa Paula News

Ventura Promise is taking away all the excuses for not going to college, the attendees at the October Good Morning Santa Paula learned from Ventura College President Robin Calote.

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesVentura Promise is taking away all the excuses for not going to college, the attendees at the October Good Morning Santa Paula learned from Ventura College President Robin Calote. Sam Hismeh, owner of Dominoes Pizza and The Medicine Shop, hosted the Chamber of Commerce-sponsored event held at The Grove at Glen Tavern Inn.Calote said that the Ventura College Promise program covers first year enrollment fees for high school graduates regardless of income and that the result increased the student “headcount by 1,000 students,” including 106 SPUHS graduates, “this fall over last fall.”An effort to endow the program is underway as Ventura Promise has proven to be a major component in “taking away all the excuses” for not attending college.Santa Paula is the home to the Ventura College East Campus and a community survey conducted by Ventura College included about 200 Santa Clara River Valley residents.Calote noted that the top goals cited in the survey centered on job skills and obtaining an associate degree.“As we’re looking to develop a master plan we wanted to make sure we’re making a wise decision,” on what type of classes are offered as well as schedule preferences, fields of study and services wanted.Office, childcare education, medical and law enforcement ranked highest in desired fields of study with childcare and bus service topping wanted services.Compressing schedules, offering Saturday classes and career education taught in Spanish were the three highest preferences revealed by the survey.
Calote said that “primarily young adults” prefer the main Ventura College campus but older students prefer to stay in the community to pickup job skills.“We’re trying to see what kind of programs and services would attract students not only living here but outside the city so we can match that full-time daily equivalent” of 500 full-time students - or about 1,500 part-time students - that could lead to the creation of an enlarged East Valley campus.Calote said that hopefully “by the end of the month we’ll see the first draft of the East Campus Master Plan,” which also included a survey that included Fillmore and SPUHS students as well as those already attending the East Campus. Input is also being sought from community focus groups.Creation of a Career College - “A college within a college” - would offer fast-tracked career training for phlebotomy (the first class has already been filled), home health aide, crime scene investigation and medical office assistant among others.An East Campus pilot program of four or five such fast-track career programs is “exciting and has great potential,” said Calote.A virtual middle college would mean increased job training and talks have been launched with SPUHS Superintendent Dr. David Gomez to “see what we can do to expand our partnership with the high school. His primary interest is in expanding,” career training options that would offer employment right out of high school.Gomez acquired software to help students rapidly make up for lost units so they can concentrate more on heavily based career training, so “by the time a student is 18 years old they can go into a $60,000 a year job working for Toyota,” or another employer.“The word has gotten out pretty well about the Ventura Promise program to everyone in the community,” noted Calote.“Santa Paula is self-contained enough as a community that it might be possible,” that in the future Ventura Promise recipients would be able to attend their first year of college free at either the main campus or closer to home at the East Campus.

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