CVHEC and the national/state perspective: industry and
education working off the same playbook
At two national conferences this month and one state convening last month, the Central Valley Higher Education Consortium team reconnected with partners in pursuit of mutual aims: the Community Colleges League of California Annual Convention Nov. 16-18 in Indian Wells, Calif., the Talent Hubs and National Talent Network Annual Convening, Dec. 4-7 in Mobile Alabama and the Complete College America 2023 Annual Convening: Future Ready Dec. 10-12 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
“These dynamic convenings of nation higher education and community leaders signaled that we are back, post-covid, speaking in a single voice on higher ed policy issues that affect our region with the goal of increasing Central Valley degree and certificate attainment rates,” said Dr. Benjamín Durán, CVHEC executive director.
“These three events provided us the opportunity to fulfill CVHEC’s role as a unified voice for higher education issues in the Central Valley on a broader state and national scale.”
Dr. Durán led a CVHEC contingency of Ángel Ramírez, finance and operation manager, and Elaine Cash, grants and programs coordinator, beginning with the Talent Hubs convening presented by CivicLab with sponsor Lumina Foundation.
At Talent Hub, presented by the CivicLab, the CVHEC reps joined colleagues from throughout the nation in revisiting how partnerships between industry and education, working off the same playbook, are vital to cross-collaboration success for both landscapes.
Fresno was first designated as a Talent Hub by Lumina in 2017 with CVHEC selected as a representative because of the consortium’s work to dramatically impact valley degree attainment, retention and persistence rates specifically among Hispanic, African American and low-income populations by utilizing remediation reform with co-requisite models for both English and math to increase college-level course completion.
Dr. Durán said key themes of the CivicLab convening reinforced the need for and value of cross sector collaboration for career pathways by the members of the Talent Hub nationwide.
“Nobody knows the future, but if industry and education work off the same playbook we will be in a better position,” Dr. Durán said, echoing messages from the opening session. “That’s why partnerships between the two are so important.”
Since the initial Lumina funding, CVHEC has utilized annual grant renewals to achieve its goals in the areas of Dual Enrollment, Transfers, Math Pathways and Open Educational Resources underscored by its annual Central Valley Higher Education Summit.
At the Complete College America conference, participants explored “a clear-eyed vision for leading systems change” in higher education throughout the nation under Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 quote, “The fierce urgency of now!”
Specifically, Dr. Duran presented on a CCA breakout session, “Central Valley Community Colleges and UC Merced – Igniting Intersegmental Miracle to Increase Transfers,” with Stan Carrizosa, president-emeritus of College of the Sequoias who is now CVHEC’s regional coordinator and Central Valley Transfer Project lead, and Jennifer Johnson, chief partnership officer for the
Foundation for California Community Colleges.
They discussed the CVTP and how it has been adopted by the California Community Colleges as a demonstration project for the consortium’s nine-county region with the goal to expand systemwide as announced by CCC Chancellor Sonya Christian at the CVHEC Summit held Oct. 20.
Also attending the CCA conference were two CVHEC board members, Dr. Lena Tran, president of Columbia College, who presented on the “Golden State Aspirations – Charting a Path to Equitable College Completion in California,” and Dr. Claudia Habib, president of Porterville College.
At the CCLC conference last month, the CVHEC Transfer Project once again presented an update on the historic the California Community Colleges demonstration project.
A special CVHEC guest panelist was student Araceli Tilley who testified how the project’s Program Pathway Mapper software is a major tool for self-starting students like herself even beyond first-time admission. Joining her and Carrizosa in CVHEC’s presentation at CLCC were Tom Burke, interim chancellor of the Kern Community College District, and Dr. James Zimmerman, special assistant to the executive vice chancellor and provost for Transfer Initiatives at UC Merced.