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Enrollment more than doubles; child care, tech centers added

NOVATO – The College of Marin’s Indian Valley Campus has more than doubled its enrollment from 769 students in the fall of 2005 to 1,553 in the fall of 2009. Continuing this trend, opening day enrollment for the 2010 spring semester was up 16 percent compared with the same period last year.

“Dramatic growth at IVC is the result of several years of hard work to reinvigorate curriculum and broaden the range of course offerings,” said College of Marin Superintendent and President Frances White, who is planning to retire in June after a 38-year career in higher education, including the last six years at COM.

These increases have occurred despite the elimination of the Cal Grant program and cuts to Extended Opportunities Programs and Services.

[caption id="attachment_19059" align="alignright" width="432" caption="Site Supervisor of the College of Marin Indian Valley Campus Children’s Center Maureen Biggart works with Lyla Magana on an art project in the new infant and toddler child care center. "][/caption]

The IVC campus, located at 1800 Ignacio Blvd., recently opened a free infant and toddler child care center with 16 fully funded Head Start slots for children from birth up to age three with priority going to low-income student families. This program will run year round with no cost to eligible families.

The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act provided grants to refurbish and reopen a child care facility on the IVC campus that was shuttered several years ago for lack of funds.

“The infant and toddler center gives people a chance to move out of poverty and be able to have a good job that supports their families,” said Lyda Beardsley, director of child care programs at COM. “It also means that psychology, nursing and child development students will have access to on-campus observation and training programs involving infants and toddlers.”

The new Early Head Start infant and toddler care program is only the latest renovation on the Novato campus.

This facility, in the same building as a preschool center for children three years of age and older, is adjacent to a large classroom that will eventually serve as a child care learning hub for College of Marin students.

Parent fees for the preschool center are subsidized by the California Department of Education and the Marin Education Fund and are on a sliding scale that ranges from no cost to full cost, depending upon family income and size.

“In the midst of this unprecedented growth and facility construction, a philosophy of sustainability has been woven through work force development classes,” said Dr. White.

Evidence of this renaissance can be seen among students in traditional trade courses, such as auto technology and auto collision repair technology (a $30 billion a year industry), that have been working with students in machine metals technology and environmental landscaping to design and build alternative-powered vehicles.

This center will help students learn about the automotive future, such as electric power, hybrid fuel cells, compressed natural gas, synthetic fuels and bio fuels.

“There has been a revitalization of the program and demand is high. Everybody that comes by and looks at our alternative fuel vehicle project wants to get involved. The new course just offered this semester for conversion of internal combustion vehicles to all-electric was another filled-to-standing-room class with a wait list,” said Ron Palmer, instructor of auto tech and auto collision repair and department chair for Career Education. “The popularity of this program is similar to that for the solar tech as well as the organic farm and garden practices courses.”

Students enrolled in these programs have the opportunity to learn vital skills for multiple employment pathways.

[caption id="attachment_19060" align="alignleft" width="259" caption="Rendering of the College of Marin Indian Valley Campus Transportation Technology Center"][/caption]

A new Transportation Technology Complex, the future home of the automotive collision and repair program as well as the automotive technology programs, will be completed in winter 2010. A ribbon-cutting ceremony to inaugurate this complex has been scheduled for April 20.

According to state labor statistics, more than 92,000 automotive technicians will be employed in California by 2012, and over 10 times that number are projected to be working throughout the U.S.

The IVC auto tech program is one of only seven ATTS certified community college programs in California.

At the same time, the new solar technology program has students learning the latest best practices for the industry, while agriculture and horticulture students are learning about sustainable soil and water management practices.

A new 5.8-acre organic farm program is also underway at the new on-site Center for Sustainable Horticulture. This project was recently selected by Washington, D.C.-based Corps Network as a “Project of the Year” for its outstanding accomplishments in the category of Pathways to Achievement for Post-Secondary, Training and Credentialing Partnerships. It was one of only six projects chosen from among 143 across the nation.

“We are developing new local economies around sustainability,” said Nanda Schorske, dean of Workforce Development and College-Community Partnerships. “IVC is home to cutting-edge innovation initiatives.  We are breaking new ground.”

In spring 2011, a main building will be completed that will serve as a new home for a variety of work force development programs, including: emergency medical technician, dental assisting, medical assisting, multi-media (computers), court reporting, as well as a cafe and library.

[caption id="attachment_19062" align="alignright" width="288" caption="Renderings of the College of Marin Indian Valley Campus main building"][/caption]

These programs will also share space with a learning resources center, administration and records, admissions office and faculty offices along with computer and general classrooms.

The most high-impact initiative to spur enrollment has been the addition of general education courses enabling students to pursue two-year degrees at IVC and transfer to four-year universities.

Now students can take GE classes (from English and math to psychology, speech and biology lectures and labs) at IVC in a program designed for working adults who need all of these courses to be offered on evenings and weekends.

For more information about College of Marin Indian Valley Campus Workforce Development programs, contact Nanda Schorske, dean of workforce development for College and Community Partnerships at nanda.schorske@marin.edu or 415-883-2211 ext. 8200.

For information about the infant and toddler child care program, call Marin Head Start at 415-883-3791 or visit www.camarin.org/headstart.html to download an application.

For Kentfield and Indian Valley campuses preschool information, go to:www.marin.edu/student_services/child_care.htm.