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February 8, 2019 Ryan Brown
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San José – Evergreen CCD Program Wins 2019 Bellwether Award
(San Jose, Calif.) —Silicon Valley Career Pathways, a partnership between San Jose – Evergreen Community College District's (SJECCD) Center for Economic Mobility and Metropolitan Education District, was named winner of the 2019 Bellwether Award in the category of Planning, Governance, and Finance during the annual Community College Futures Assembly this week in San Antonio.
The Bellwether Awards, which are presented in three categories—Instructional Programs and Services; Planning, Governance, and Finance; and Workforce Development—are widely regarded as the nation's most competitive and prestigious recognition awards for community colleges. They are designed to identify outstanding and innovative programs which can then be shared and implemented as best practices at other colleges.
Out of hundreds of Bellwether Award submissions received annually, only ten programs are selected as finalists for each category. Those ten finalists then present information on their submitted programs at the Futures Assembly, where they are competitively judged by a panel of community college faculty, staff, and administrators. Programs are judged on a variety of factors, including replicability and scalability.
Led by Alexandra Duran, dean of workforce and economic development with SJECCD, Silicon Valley Career Pathways project is designed to create career pathway programs that are aligned to high-need, high-growth, or emerging regional economic sectors. As Northern California's largest network of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and career programs, Silicon Valley Career Pathways has a goal of strengthening collaboration between education and industry, preparing students with fundamental STEM competencies, and encouraging students at every level to pursue high-demand careers.
"Silicon Valley Career Pathways is fundamentally changing the way educational entities interact with industry partners to prepare students for 21st century careers," according to Dr. Byron D. Clift Breland, SJECCD chancellor. "The Bellwether Award is a great honor and recognizes the truly innovative nature of this approach."
The primary objective of Silicon Valley Career Pathways is the development of a technology employee pipeline comprised of local students. "In a region where a majority of residents are from traditionally underrepresented populations, less than 12 percent of the STEM workforce is comprised of employees from these groups," said Dr. William Watson, executive director of strategic partnerships and workforce innovation with SJECCD's Center for Economic Mobility. "This program helps diversify the tech workforce while creating more opportunity for more local students. This works to mitigate the growing economic inequity in our region."
In addition to Silicon Valley Career Pathways, two other SJECCD programs were selected as finalists for the Bellwether Awards, including Evergreen Valley College's (EVC) "EVC to San Jose State University Registered Nursing to Bachelor of Science in Nursing Collaborative," which was a finalist in the Instructional Programs and Services category, and San Jose City College's "Technest" program, which was selected as a finalist in the Workforce Development category.
"It is unheard of for a single District to have three programs selected as finalists and the fact that we were chosen in every category illustrates the outstanding and innovative work taking place within our District," said Chancellor Clift Breland.
The Bellwether College Consortium, which created the Bellwether Award, is a group of colleges charged with addressing the critical issues facing community colleges through applicable research and the promotion and replication of best practices.
About San José – Evergreen Community College District
Located in vibrant downtown San José in the heart of Silicon Valley, the San José – Evergreen Community College District (SJECCD) encompasses more than 300 square miles, including a large portion of the City of San José and all of the City of Milpitas. The District includes the areas served by Milpitas and San José Unified School Districts, together with East Side Union High School District. SJECCD is comprised of: Evergreen Valley College, established in 1975; San José City College, the first community college in Santa Clara County, established in 1921; the Community College Center for Economic Mobility (previously known as the Workforce Institute), established in 1988, and the San José – Evergreen Community College Extension at Milpitas, established in 2016. For more information, visit www.sjeccd.edu.