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Petitioning San Joaquin Delta College Vocational Programs

Stop the cutting of Vocational Programs at Delta College

Funding for California Community Colleges in California has been cut by $809 million, or 12 percent, since 2008-09. Colleges could be cut by another $338 million in January 2013. Community Colleges reacted by reducing its enrollments, cutting its courses, eliminating summer school offerings, increasing class sizes, and now cutting entire programs.

Unfortunately, Delta College's answer to this is to cut programs that are vital to Stockton’s community and to restarting the local economy. The population that the college serves is primarily vocational students, with fewer than 250 of 16,000 students transferring to the CSU or UC System. And yet, the college, along with other community colleges, is focused on an Associate of Arts/Sciences Degree in "GE Transfer," rather than focusing on the needs of ALL of its students.

On the immediate chopping block are vital programs like Construction, EMT, Fire Science, Mill Cabinet, Interior Design, Real Estate, Banking, Insurance, and others that have been neglected and cut apart to save more "preferred programs." The second round of cuts will be the "non-essential" programs that don't fall into the "transfer" plan that could include Graphic Arts, Radio and TV, Fashion, and other programs that have one faculty but incredible student success stories.

The transfer degrees are in very specific and designated areas such as Music, Art History, Studio Art, Communications Study, History, Kinesiology, Mathematics, Political Science, Psychology, Administration of Justice, Sociology, Theater Arts, English, Elementary Education, Business Administration, Physics, Geography, Geology, Journalism.

There are several reasons to join this petition:

1. The transfer degree is only valid for a CSU or UC that has the specific program and there is no CSU or UC in Stockton or San Joaquin County for Delta students to transfer, meaning either a commute or a move for a student to complete the transfer requirement.
2. These are degrees that will not benefit Stockton directly in that the student cannot complete an Associates Degree in General Education Transfer and get a job with any skill learned.
3. Vocational programs are receiving the "brunt" of cuts to the college and are being whittled down to the bare bones, making it harder for these programs to survive.
4. The vocational programs have had tremendous success in placing students in careers in which they are thriving!
5. SJ County's vital future job force will not be trained prior to applying, putting pressure on the employer to train and educate at levels that should be completed in a vocational program and putting the student at the bottom of the employability scale.

However, even with all of the resources going to this new "transfer degree," CSU campuses will hold all applications until the end of this initial application filing period on November 30, 2012. The reason for this action is because there is a measure on the November ballot (Proposition 30) which requires voters to decide whether to provide additional funding to help the state address the ongoing structural deficit. If Proposition 30 is not approved, the CSU budget will be cut an additional $250 million.

Additionally, with the rising tuitions of the CSU and UC systems, many students will not be able to afford the transfer without student loans. The average loan debt for a student today is over $27,000 and is at a record high. Many students won't qualify for financial aid so they are left out of the educational system. And, while unemployment among college graduates is only slightly higher than the overall rate, a study found a stunning 37.8 percent of recent graduates are working in jobs that do not require a college degree.

Enrollment capacity on the CSU campuses is necessarily tied to the amount of available state funding. Therefore, if Proposition 30 is not approved, the CSU will have to admit fewer students. Admission decisions are therefore being postponed; students will begin to receive admission notices after the application deadline of November 30, 2012.

Though programs like EMT and Fire Science are on the hit list, California community colleges train 80 percent of firefighters, law enforcement personnel, and emergency medical technicians.

Interior Design, which as a career is expecting a 19% growth in jobs til 2020 is one of the first programs to go.

Programs like these will be offered only at very expensive private colleges where tuitions spike at between $30,000-40,000 per year.

The Community College system has forgotten its mission: to provide excellent post-secondary education that serves the needs of students, and the District community through continuing, transfer, career and technical education, and economic development. To achieve this objective, the faculty and staff are committed to providing comprehensive instructional programs, student services and public services that are high quality.

Unfortunately, it is choosing for its students which programs are "viable" and which are not. Those that generate high enrollments (the general education courses taught in large auditoriums--- now is that really learning?) will remain and increase in number. Those that are smaller and skill-based will not. Regardless of the fact that students in vocational and career programs are able to step into jobs with certificates of 27-40 course credits or with Associates Degrees, or they are choosing to work as freelancers or start their own businesses, either home based, mobile or physical business, which helps fuel this local economy!

STOCKTON RESIDENTS AND FRIENDS --- help the administration and board understand what is important to the community it is suppose to be serving!

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  • San Joaquin Delta College Vocational Programs

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