Valley Voices

Stranded by ITT Tech? Community colleges can help

ITT Technical Institute has closed all campuses nationwide, including the one at 362 N. Clovis Ave. in Clovis.
ITT Technical Institute has closed all campuses nationwide, including the one at 362 N. Clovis Ave. in Clovis. jwalker@fresnobee.com

As the new president of Fresno City College, I am proud to lead the first community college founded in California. While I have been the president for a short time, I have lived in this community for more than 30 years and understand that this college has played an important role in serving the city.

During the Great Recession, Fresno City College experienced an increase in enrollment, especially in the career and technical programs, where folks came to learn a new trade or hone their skills to be more competitive in the workforce. It is no wonder that over 30,000 people each academic year choose to come here.

Today, Fresno City College and all of the State Center Community College District campuses stand ready to serve the displaced ITT Tech students.

I was disheartened to learn that once again another private college is closing its doors on students. Last year it was Heald, part of Corinthian Colleges that closed after the U.S. Department of Education fined Corinthian $30 million for allegedly falsifying student job-placement numbers.

That move was incredibly important and overdue. It is a signal for all for-profit colleges, and not-for-profit colleges, that a degree should be one that is academically rigorous and relevant in today’s workplace.

Upon hearing the news of the ITT Tech closure, State Center Community College District staff and administrators worked on a plan to help ITT Tech students. We attended the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education meeting with ITT Tech students to provide them with a way to complete their education at Fresno City College, Reedley College, Clovis Community College, and Madera and Oakhurst Community College Centers.

In addition, Fresno City College faculty, staff and administrators met to plan outreach activities to help displaced students. Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon at the campus library, students will be able to meet with admissions counselors and financial-aid advisers, and enroll. To make it more convenient, parking will be free that day.

The Fresno City College team has reviewed ITT Tech’s programs that were offered in Fresno and determined that we offer all of the associate degree programs that ITT Tech offered before it closed. For example, our paralegal degree program has memorandums of understanding with Fresno State and San Joaquin College of Law that allow students who complete the programs to transfer.

We have student support programs in place to help transition students to Fresno City College and to our sister colleges within State Center. ITT students will be able to continue their education with us.

Fresno City College is doing everything within its power to provide a quality education and an opportunity for a better future for all students. I believe we all can agree on the power that education has to transform lives. The students who enrolled at ITT believed in that as well. Everyone at SCCCD is dedicated to providing each student the opportunity to succeed.

We invite you to come to the “ITT to FCC” outreach event Saturday and to visit our website. We are proud of our history in this community and will continue to provide educational opportunities for all students who enter our doors.

Carole Goldsmith of Fresno is president of Fresno City College and former president of West Hills College. She was honored as a Top Dog outstanding alumni by Fresno State in 2013. Email: carole.goldsmith@

fresnocitycollege.edu

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