Kern Community College District (KCCD) will receive $5 million of a $20 million grant to train Bakersfield College, Porterville College and Cerro Coso Community College students for high-demand health careers jobs, KCCD Chancellor Sandra Serrano announced today.

KCCD colleges won the grant in collaboration with a consortium of California community colleges. The Central California Community College Consortium, led by West Hills Community College District, submitted the only grant proposal to be funded in California. The three-year, $20 million grant is part of $500 million in grant funds to community colleges around the country. The grant monies support partnerships between community colleges and employers to develop programs that provide educational pathways to readily available, high-paying jobs.

"These grant funds will build upon KCCD's recently focused efforts to increase student success and college completion in our service area," Chancellor Serrano said. "This funding will help us prepare students with the skills and competencies they need to be successful--and to do so in a shorter time period to better respond to local workforce jobs in highest demand."

KCCD colleges will use the funds to augment students' basic skills preparation and program completion in health careers fields. Bakersfield College will use the funds for training in nursing and radiologic technology. Porterville College funds will support students in its KCCD receives $5 million grant to help students complete health careers psychiatric technician program. Cerro Coso Community College students in nursing and certified medical assistant programs will see funding support. KCCD colleges will partner with local health care providers to enhance programs for students.

KCCD colleges will receive one-fourth of the funds allotted to the 11 colleges and one educational center in the Central California Community College Consortium.

Bakersfield College, Porterville College and Cerro Coso Community College join in the consortium Taft College, West Hills Community College's Lemoore and Coalinga campuses, Fresno City College, State Center Community College District's Madera Center, Reedley College, Merced College, San Joaquin Delta College, and College of the Sequoias. The Central California Community College Consortium submitted its grant proposal organizing around a shared vision of systemic redesign and acceleration strategies to significantly increase student completion of certificates and degrees with value in the labor market.

"Our proposal looked at how students are moving through our system and identified ways to advance students' successful progress to completion," Serrano said. "Our strategy is to help students stay in school, finish courses successfully, and reduce the amount of time it takes them to complete a certificate or degree. The sooner students complete their education, the sooner they are ready to enter the workforce and improve our local economies."

Kern Community College District, headquartered in Bakersfield, California, is one of the nation's geographically largest community college districts, with a service area of nearly 25,000 square miles. KCCD encompasses parts of Kern, Tulare, Inyo, Mono and San Bernardino counties. KCCD serves 44,000 students with 1,400 employees at three colleges--Bakersfield College, Porterville College and Cerro Coso Community College in Ridgecrest.

-- Kern Community College District, News Release