College of the Canyons has developed the new Fast Track Institute to provide accelerated job preparation programs for job seekers, mid-career professionals, recent high school graduates and community members looking for an opportunity to quickly jump start their careers during the current economic downturn. The first information session is scheduled tonight.
The Fast Track Institute will offer a variety of fast-paced, intensive job preparation courses that will teach entry-level job skills and allow participants to quickly begin working in local businesses and industries where applicants with up-to-date training are in high demand.
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Fast Track courses take only a few months to complete, with participants earning a recognized professional certificate in their particular area of study or a list of skill competencies they can share with potential employers.
“This trend-setting model offers significant benefits both for our students and local businesses,” said COC Chancellor Dr. Dianne Van Hook. “We are proud to lead the way in creating real solutions that meet the needs of Santa Clarita companies, and help local residents obtain skills to launch new careers in industries that are actively hiring new employees.”
According to the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation, the county’s unemployment rate is expected to hover at approximately12.4 percent through the remainder of 2010.
While the City of Santa Clarita’s April 2010 unemployment rate of approximately 7.4 percent is lower than that of the county, as well as several other nearby cities, those figures are a stark contrast to other periods in the city’s history when local unemployment rates hovered between two and three percent.
However, there are several local employers that have maintained their market position, and are predicting job growth within their respective industries — despite the current economic climate.
For instance, a number of aerospace employers are anticipating an increased need for trained machinists over the next two years, as new contracts are established and the current workforce begins to reach retirement age.
Meanwhile, local employers in the manufacturing industry have indicated an almost constant need for employees trained to perform entry-level jobs related to micro and precision assembly — positions with the potential to pay up to $18 an hour after the first year.
“In meeting with industry representatives to begin developing programs for the Fast Track Institute we realized that well-paying jobs were going unfilled because the pool of available candidates lacked the proper preparation,” said Dr. Dena Maloney, Vice President of Economic Development and the Canyon Country campus.
“The Fast Track Institute is aimed at giving job candidates those vital entry-level skills that are needed to gain employment and start a career,” added Maloney.
A total of 18 initial programs have been identified for inclusion in the Fast Track Institute’s first offerings. Programs will be divided into four general industry areas: Manufacturing, Green Technology, Medical/General Office and Managerial/Professional.
The managerial/professional track is specifically focused on the needs of mid-career professionals who either need to re-enter the labor market due to downsizing, or require additional training and certification in order to remain competitive in their current industries.
“All of the Fast Track programs were selected based on labor demand and will be particularly focused on industries where future job growth is expected,” Maloney said.
The college is also in the process of identifying other high-demand career and technical skill sets that can be developed into programs and delivered in a Fast Track format.
“The Fast Track concept is an important door-opener for people into a job and a career,” said Kristin Houser, Dean of Career and Technical Education. “Participants can get their foot in the door with this training, then come back to the college to pursue a certificate or degree and receive more in-depth education and training.”
Fast Track institute classes will typically be offered as intensive day and evening classes held at several Santa Clarita Valley locations, including the college’s training center at Aerospace Dynamics International, Inc., in Valencia and at both College of the Canyons campuses.
Classes being offered in fall 2010 include CNC Machinist Training, Office Administration and APICS Operations and Management Fundamentals.
“There is an urgency surrounding the industry areas we are initially focusing on,” said Pete Bellas, Fast Track project leader. “Local companies need prepared candidates to fill these positions now, and are willing to hire applicants who may lack experience but have received the proper training.”
All Fast Track courses are competency based, meaning students will need to demonstrate their skill set before receiving certification.
Another goal of the Fast Track Institute will be to provide students with opportunities to meet and interact with potential employers through a variety of job shadowing, internship and job recruitment programs.
Courses are fee-based and paid for by the student or through the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) system, subject to student and course eligibility.
A series of information sessions about the College of the Canyons Fast Track Institute will be held throughout the fall 2010 semester in the Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center. Sessions currently scheduled include:
· 5 to 6 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 26, Room 206
· 3 to 4 p.m., Monday, Nov. 1, Room 206
· 6 to 7 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 4, Room 207
· 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 10, Room 206
For more information about the College of the Canyons Fast Track Institute, including class information, enrollment requirements and registration costs please visit www.canyons.edu/fasttrack  or contact Pete Bellas at (661) 362-5182 or firstname.lastname@example.org  .