Fresno City College plans IT and manufacturing training center
(TNS) – U.S. Representative Jim Costa, D-Fresno, and other community leaders gathered on the unpaved lot Monday at the Fresno City College West Campus construction site to highlight another construction project at come west of Fresno.
The Central Valley Training Center will be built with the support of nearly $2 million in federal funds.
Chuck Riojas of the Fresno/Madera/Tulare/Kings Building Trades Council said the center would serve as a “middle-class ticket” to West Fresno, which has some of the highest poverty rates in the city.
“I can tell you growing up on the west side as a kid, it changed a lot,” Costa said. “He suffered from neglect. But we are turning the situation around.”
The center will offer courses in construction, fabrication, information technology and welding.
The community leaders behind this new center said they hoped to recruit women, minorities, formerly incarcerated and other underrepresented groups for the training.
They plan to do this through community outreach and relying on their community organization partners, the leaders said at the press conference.
FIVE YEARS OF CREATION
Lee Ann Eager, president of the Fresno County Economic Development Corporation, said they started dreaming about this training center about five years ago, in 2017.
She and other partners took a trip to Oakland to see what is now known as the Cypress Mandela Training Center, which provides pre-apprenticeship training in construction and life skills to Bay Area residents.
“We said, ‘Oh man, we need one,'” Eager said. “We’re going to do it in Fresno. We’re going to do it bigger and better.”
Planning for the center’s construction schedule is in the early stages now that federal funding has been secured, said Carole Goldsmith, district chancellor of State Center Community College.
Construction of Fresno City College’s west campus is already underway and is expected to open in the spring 2023 semester, Goldsmith said.
INVEST IN WEST FRESNO
What makes this training center unique?
“Location, location, location,” Costa said.
The goal is to help West Fresno residents find sufficient training and employment in the community instead of being forced to leave the area for school or other work opportunities. employment, said Fresno City Council member Miguel Arias.
Not only that, but the partners behind the project also intended to double public education and training opportunities.
“You’ll also see plenty of private career colleges offering career training, but you’ll come out with a lot of debt,” Arias said. “These programs are not meeting the huge need of those who are hard to hire (and) underserved.”
Several union representatives from the building trades and skilled trades attended Monday’s press conference in a show of support for expanding job training opportunities.
Michael Lopez, a representative for the local sheet metal workers union, told The Bee’s Education Lab that he wouldn’t be where he is today without the city’s college after growing up in Mendota, where all he never knew was agricultural work.
“I grew up in HLM,” he says. “So you know, (coming from) not even owning a house on my own – I own three now. Not bragging, but it put me in this position where my future is taken care of.”
After decades of broken promises to West Fresno residents, Arias said there remains a roadblock when it comes to convincing community members that investments like the training center are really happening.
“We’re going to have to show people that we’ve actually delivered on our word,” he said, “building a modern facility that everyone can be proud of with specifically targeted training programs for the area that needs it the most. , namely west of Fresno.”
The Education Lab is a grassroots journalism initiative that highlights education issues critical to the advancement of the San Joaquin Valley. It is funded by donors. Learn more about The Bee’s Education Lab on its website.
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