October 11, 2022 Minutes-Dr. Wolde-Ab Isaac, Chancellor Riverside Community College District

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Hybrid Meeting In-Person and via ZOOM


Present:  Deborah Barmack, Peter Barmack, Carole Beswick, Greg Bradbard, Chris Carrillo, Ken Coate, Michelle Decker, Kevin Dyerly, Rebeccah Goldware, Louis Goodwin, Otis Greer, Wolde-Ab Isaac, Lena Kent, Lowell King, Steve Lambert, Mike Layne, Bill Lemann, Darcy McNaboe, Jacquelyn Mercado, Dr. Anne Miles, John Mirau, Bansree Parikh, Dan Roberts, Elizabeth Romero, Dan Schenkel, Paul Shimoff, Eric Ustation, Reggie Webb, and Ray Wolfe.

Guests:  Debra Mustain

Announcements:  1) Members were reminded that Inland Action will hold a retreat on Saturday, November 5, 2022, at the Redlands Country Club from 8:00 a.m. to noon.  The retreat will include planning for the next two years, and Steve Lambert will serve as the moderator. 2) Mike Layne invited members to the building dedication in memory of Mrs. Lois Carson on Friday, November 4, 2022, at 1 p.m.

Motion by K. Coate/Second/Passed: Minutes from October 4, 2022.

Kevin Dyerly introduced Dr. Wolde-Ab Isaac, Chancellor Riverside Community College District (RCCD) who discussed the Inland Empire Technical Trade Center (IETTC) to be constructed in Jurupa Valley and what it means for the region.

The Inland Empire counties of Riverside and San Bernardino are the 10th and 12th largest counties in America by population, respectively, and among the fastest growing regions in the United States.  While the Inland Empire enjoys a variety of traditional post-secondary institutions offering certificate and degree programs, there are only a handful of public technical training centers in Southern California.  These centers are largely private, for-profit and are often expensive and inaccessible without significant student debt to attend.  This leaves too many kids that do not attend college and, therefore, are left without meaningful employment skills. California community colleges can holistically provide training to the region’s most at-risk populations with a seamless path to excellence, moving them from poverty to self-sufficiency.

The Riverside Community College District has 63,000 students among their three colleges: Riverside City College, Norco College, and Moreno Valley College.  All have their own focus, but there is a need for basic technical instruction preparing students for high-skill, high-wage, and locally in-demand careers that align with current local and regional college career education offerings.  The IETTC is a response to the urgent need for good jobs for the region’s residents, diversification of the local regional economy, and a locally available educated and skilled workforce for the region’s current and future employers.

A new 50-acre property in the Jurupa Valley will be the site for the new IETTC campus.  The training center property, which is expected to be ready for construction in 2025-26, will help students create a more diversified workforce and build a more robust economy.  The IETTC will offer apprenticeships and internships that will allow students to “earn while they learn.”  The Center has the potential to transport students from poverty to self-sufficiency. For many students, earning a skills-based certificate is a point of entry to employment and a first step to earning a degree in their chosen field.  Students will be guided in carpentry, retail, automotive, and cybersecurity fields, all of which typically pay $25-$30 per hour.

RCCD has assembled 100 plus partners from business leaders, educators, employers, civic leaders, labor, and community organizations that collectively engage in a regional commitment and shared resolve to tackle persistent poverty in marginalized groups.  Only 41% of Inland Empire households have incomes above the real cost of living; and too many families struggle to make ends meet, being forced to rely on jobs with insufficient pay, few benefits, and no viable career pathway. Lawmakers who support the center include Assembly Member Sabrina Cervantes, State Senator Richard Roth and Congressman Mark Takano.

For our region to be able to compete on the global stage, we must continue to develop and grow a skilled and trained workforce that resides here in the Inland Empire.  We must ensure that our youth are prepared for future jobs, not only jobs that require a college degree, but also well-paid positions in the trades, to help build a better and stronger California.  The IETTC will be a linchpin for our region’s transformation into a prosperous, diverse economy, where our K-12 students participate in quality career tech programs that seamlessly connect to aligned career development pathways, all supported by our community colleges, local workforce development boards, and other excellent institutions of higher education.

The cornerstone of the IETTC is the commitment to collaboration, facilitating the creation of pathways for residents between K-12 schools, institutions of higher education, and the local workforce.  By fostering local connections, the IETTC provides opportunities for long-term careers in the region, boosting economic growth, alleviating the income gap, and providing opportunities out of poverty.

The fact that hundreds of thousands of people struggle to make ends meet in the world’s fifth-largest economy is nothing short of a travesty. The Inland Empire is expected to grow to 7 million residents over the next thirty years and will be bearing the brunt of the impacts caused by climate change.  It is vital that our region makes key education and workforce investments now.

A Q & A period followed.
Meeting adjourned at 8:34 a.m.