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CCCC President Sean Hancock / Laura Austin Photo

Outlook Conference comments from CCCC President Hancock

By Patricia Farris News Review Publisher–  Dr Sean Hancock was one of the community leaders who spoke at the recent Indian Wells Valley Economic Outlook Conference.

He spoke to the celebration of the 50 years of success of Cerro Coso Community College. Stating that the Ridgecrest campus opened in 1973 with an enrollment of 800 students in a facility designed for 600. He noted that the college had added career technical education, athletic facilities, online education, and more over the next several decades. 50 years after opening, we have four campuses: Ridgecrest, Bishop, Mammoth Lakes, and Tehachapi. We serve five counties across 18,000 square miles with a fall enrollment of 5,600 students.

In the 22-23 year, the college offered a record number of degrees and certificates. 631 recipients received them: 558 AA /AS degrees and 202 ADTS.

36 high schoolers earned college degrees in 2023.

Early college allows students to take college classes at their high schools, giving them a head start on college education with no enrollment fees.

Cerro Coso and Dr Sonya Christian, State Chancellor of California Community Colleges, were proud to announce graduation from the Incarcerated Student Education Program at the Tehachapi California Correctional Institution. Combined, these students earned nearly 100 associate degrees.

Regarding online education, Hancock noted that Cerro Coso continues to be a leader. Half of all Cerro Coso students take classes online. He noted that students have busy lives and that online education allows the college to work around their schedules. Online education is critical to serving students regardless of where they are.

Looking to the future, an associate degree in nursing is awaiting final approval with a 2-year, 4-semester program.

New equipment and staff are being added to meet Board of Registered Nursing requirements. The application progress will give local students a competitive advantage: we are training nurses in our communities for our communities. The tentative start date will be the fall of 2024.

The college is also in the process of adding a Bachelors Degree in Cyber Security. This is part of a Statewide Community College Baccalaureate Degree program expansion (2021). Cyber security is critical in our area to support national security and defense. The demand for cybersecurity professionals is high nationwide. Jobs are expected to increase by 32% from 2021 – 2031. Final approval for this is pending.

A process has been started to launch a bachelor’s degree in addiction counseling. A Certificate of Achievement program is currently offered.

Addiction Counseling is a growing need. Employment is expected to grow 23% from 2020-23, so expanded resources to train counselors are needed.

In speaking to the Coyote Athletics Facilities Expansion program, he said construction is underway on new athletic facilities for baseball and softball diamonds. These facilities will include new grandstands, clubhouses, press boxes, concessions and restroom facilities, and more.

The Cerro Coso College Foundation was founded in 1977 to support student, faculty, and staff access, success, and excellence. The foundation is funded through donations and fundraisers. On April 6th, the Denim and Diamonds event will be held at Cerro Coso’s Outdoor Learning terrace. The money from the foundation goes to Phi Thea Kappa Honors Society, also the Cerro Coso Promise Scholarship Program, athletic programs, the Alumni Association, and The Marketplace, with various special grants, community events, and professional development.

Dr Hancok stated that the mission of Cerro Coso Community College is to improve the life of every student it serves by prioritizing equity and supporting the attainment of educational goals. Through innovative delivery methods, Cero Coso College provides transfer preparation, workforce education, degree pathways, and comprehensive student support services to develop ethical and effective citizenry throughout our vast rural and online communities.