Orange County’s community colleges will now be included in a program that helps county employees advance their careers through education.
Under the revision proposed by First District Supervisor Andrew Do and approved unanimously by the Board of Supervisors, community colleges will now qualify for the County’s University Partnership program.
Supervisor Do said that the policy is about supporting Orange County workers with access to low-cost, high-quality educational programs offered by local community colleges.
“You don't have to go far to access an outstanding education,” said Supervisor Andrew Do. “Our community colleges have some of the best professors in the country who are invested in their students. This policy is about respecting and promoting our community colleges.”
For the past twelve years, the county has partnered with local universities to provide discounted tuition, educational reimbursement, and marketing of educational opportunities for county employees. However, community colleges have been excluded from formal participation in this program.
“We applaud Supervisor Do’s efforts to include vital community colleges, including Santa Ana College, in the University Partnership program,” said Chancellor Marvin Martinez from the Rancho Santiago Community College District. “We view this partnership as an important investment for the residents and communities we serve.”
“Santa Ana College is pleased to provide Orange County employees with high-quality educational options,” said Dr. Linda Rose, president of Santa Ana College. “Under the terms of the program, Orange County employees are able to invest in themselves personally and professionally to attain a bachelor’s degree, associate degree, certificate or job training.”
As one of the largest employers in Orange County, in league with the Disneyland Resort and UC Irvine, the county offers a variety of opportunities for upward mobility and training for its 18,000 employees.
“Education opens doors, and provides a pathway to a better life,” said Supervisor Do. “Community colleges are engines of upward mobility for Californians from all walks of life. When the Rancho Santiago Community College District came to me asking for help joining the county’s University Partnership Program, I was surprised that our rules did not allow them to participate and worked to bring this amendment to the Board.”
Due to low and no cost tuition rates already provided by California Community Colleges to the general public, under the revisions to the current policy, they will not be required to provide reduced tuition in order to obtain the benefits provided to universities. Supervisor Do has also directed county staff to provide information about the University Partnership Program on the county’s public website.
About Santa Ana College
Santa Ana College, which turned 100 years old in 2015, serves about 27,000 students each semester at its main campus in Santa Ana. The college prepares students for transfer to four-year institutions and provides invaluable workforce training and customized training for business and industry. In addition, another 11,000 students are served through the college’s School of Continuing Education located at Centennial Education Center. Ranked as one of the nation’s top two-year colleges awarding associate degrees to Latino and Asian students, the college is also recognized throughout the state for its comprehensive workforce training programs for nurses, firefighters, law enforcement, and other medical personnel. Santa Ana College is one of two comprehensive colleges under the auspices of the Rancho Santiago Community College District.
About Rancho Santiago Community College District
Santa Ana College and Santiago Canyon College are public community colleges of the Rancho Santiago Community College District, which serves the residents of Anaheim Hills, Orange, Santa Ana, Villa Park, and portions of Anaheim, Costa Mesa, Irvine, Fountain Valley, Garden Grove, and Tustin. Both colleges provide education for academic transfer and careers, courses for personal and professional development, and customized training for business and industry.