State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell participated in a news conference on Thursday, March 25 at the Educational Cultural Complex to highlight San Diego Continuing Education’s new skills center, which includes an automotive technology training program that is the largest of its kind in the country.
Joining O’Connell at the event was San Diego Community College District Board of Trustee members Rich Grosch and Peter Zchiesche, Dr. Constance Carroll, Chancellor of the San Diego Community College District, and Dr. Anthony Beebe, President of San Diego Continuing Education.
The Educational Cultural Complex serves as Continuing Education’s Campus of Excellence for Career and Technical Education. The 67,010 square foot expansion opened in 2009 and includes new repair bays, drive-in spray paint booths, shops, labs, classrooms, demonstration theatres and other teaching and learning spaces.
O’Connell explained the importance of educational opportunities being relevant, and suggested the new expansion at ECC should serve as the role model for other facilities in the state.
The Skills Center supports instructional and career training programs in Automotive Technology, Automotive Mechanical and Electrical Repair, Automotive Body Repair, Automotive Upholstery, Graphic Printing Technology, Computer Graphic Arts, Cisco Lab, Business Information Technology and Welding.
The California Employment Development Department labor market outlook projects job growth within San Diego County into 2016. Continuing Education meets with industry leaders and employers to determine how to best meet the needs of future job growth, and match program offerings with viable job opportunities.
“Continuing Education is making history. Our students will benefit from the free job training the programs offer, and our local businesses will also prosper from having a knowledgeable candidate pool to pull from when they need well-trained employees,” said Dr. Anthony Beebe, President, San Diego Continuing Education.
Employers who make hiring decisions are usually looking for candidates who have completed short-term job-training programs. In academic year 08/09, Continuing Education issued 44 certificates of completion to students who completed training in Automotive Technician and Brakes and Front. The state projects jobs in these areas to increase by 7.4%, which is the equivalent of 520 new jobs by 2016. Average wages for Automotive Technicians in San Diego range from $14.64 to $25.71 per hour.
“The Skills Center represents hope for the future, not only for the students, but for this community’s economy as well,” said Rich Grosch, President of the Board of Trustees, SDCCD. “Free job training is the means to create and fill jobs that this community, this state, this nation so desperately need.”
The SDCCD chancellor, Dr. Constance Carroll, reflected on "bold efforts" by the community college leadership to provide economic development in the southeast sector of San Diego.
"Beginning with the construction of the Educational Cultural Complex in the 1970s, our community college priority has been to provide training for jobs,” said Carroll.
Carroll also credited the contributions of many community partners to this effort, including the voters of San Diego who voted to pass Proposition S in 2002 and Proposition N in 2006, making the expansion possible. Carroll also named the Southeastern Economic Development Corporation (SEDC), the Coalition of Neighborhood Councils, the Urban League, the Jackie Robinson Family YMCA, and others. "What we have in this kind of collaboration is a win-win situation for all,” she said.