Cerro Coso Community College

Five from CCCC Recipients of National Award

Back l to r: Laura Vasquez (Director of Basic Skills), Herman Foster (Welding Faculty), Paula Suorez (Director of Students and Counseling).  Seated l to r: Annette Hodgins (Director of Nursing) and Valerie Karnes (C6 Project Director)

Five Cerro Coso Community College employees received national recognition for their leadership and contributions to higher education. Laura Vasquez (Director of Basic Skills), Herman Foster (Welding Faculty), Paula Suorez (Director of Students and Counseling), Annette Hodgins (Director of Nursing), and Valerie Karnes (C6 Project Director) were presented the John and Suanne Roueche Excellence Awards at a conference in Boston, Mass., in March that drew community college representatives from across the nation.

The award is from the League for Innovation in the Community College, an international consortium of community colleges and their districts, and 160 corporate partners.

This group of dedicated faculty and administrators spent the past four years focused on increasing access to programs, student success, completion, and transition into the workforce by working collaboratively across the Central Valley aligning curriculum in the disciplines of Allied Health, Welding, and Basic Skills between all participating colleges in the C6 Consortium.

Funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, the project allowed the college to expand its Vocational Nursing Program into Lake Isabella, start a new program in Medical Assisting, compress the time it takes to complete the Vocational Nursing and Welding Programs, update the college welding lab to increase the number of students per class, utilize iPads in the nursing and medical assisting programs, and provided additional course offerings in Home Health Aide and Certified Nursing Assistant.

None of this would have been realized without administrative and counseling leadership. The Counseling Department provided students the intake services needed to participate in the C6 cohorts, utilizing a variety of tools and services and providing valuable feedback.

Administrative work delivered support with travel arrangements, deadlines, budget management, required documentation, and reporting integrated information from the four strands of the grant. Of the 251 students at Cerro Coso participating in C6 Programs, 71% have completed to date, with others still enrolled.

“The innovation and collaboration with other colleagues throughout the Central Valley as well as partnering with local business and industry has benefited our students greatly,” said President Jill Board.

Each recipient received a certificate and medallion to honor their achievements.