SWC Career Programs Earn State Honors
By Ana Gomez Salcido
Southwestern College’s programs earned statewide recognition in California Community Colleges’ Strong Workforce Stars awards.
Among the honorees, Southwestern’s Registered Nursing program received the highest level as a Gold Star for the program’s earning power and social mobility successes.
Strong Workforce Stars is an annual recognition for career education programs within the 114-institution California Community Colleges system. It highlights colleges and programs whose graduates show significant gains for advancing social mobility – increase earnings, attainment of a living wage and a job closely matched with the field of study.
According to the Chancellor’s Office, Southwestern College Strong Workforce Gold Star achievements for the Registered Nursing program were a 100-percent rate of alumni employed in a job similar to their field of study, 76 percent of students attained the regional living wage, and 52 percent received an increase in earnings.
Programs named Strong Workforce Stars met one or more of the following thresholds. Gold Star level programs met all three, Silver Stars met two, and Bronze Star met one or more. Criterion included an increase in earnings by 50 percent or more, based on a match to the State wage file, for students who earned a certificate or degree and were last enrolled in 2015-16; attainment of the regional living wage by 70 percent or more, based on a match to the state wage file, for students who earned a certificate or degree and were last enrolled in 2015-16; 90 percent or more are employed in a job similar to their field of study, according to the Career Technical Education Outcomes Survey, for students who earned a certificate or degree and were last enrolled in 2014-15.
“It is an honor to have Southwestern College’s dedication to providing quality career education programs recognized by the State Chancellor’s Office,” said Kindred Murillo, Southwestern College superintendent and president. “Strong Workforce career education programs are proven to help our students see significant results, as well as those who are on the rise toward even greater success.”
In addition to the Gold Star achievement, Southwestern College earned four Silver Stars and 14 Bronze Star recognitions. The college’s Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT) program was one of four programs recognized at the Silver Star level.
“The (MLT field) is expected to grow more than 13 percent, outpacing other occupations,” said Southwestern MLT Director Deanna Reinacher. “Laboratorians are retiring faster than we can train qualified individuals to replace them.”
Southwestern’s Career Education offers over 60 career and technical degree and certificate programs covering a wide-range of areas.
“Southwestern College is committed to equity by providing a variety of quality career education programs that upon completion provide living wages and sustainable middle skill job options for our students,” said Jennifer Lewis, Southwestern College’s dean of Workforce Development.