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COC cuts public-service training from curriculum

Chancellor cites budget demands, growing needs of local students in making decision

Posted: May 11, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: May 11, 2011 1:55 a.m.
 

College of the Canyons is trimming its training budget for public-service agencies, saving $3.7 million in the face of ongoing state budget cuts to community colleges.

COC currently works with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Los Angeles County Fire Department, Los Angeles County Fire Department Lifeguard Division and Los Angeles Police Department, providing classes and support for often state-mandated training.

The arrangements, known as instructional service agreements, were created so outside organizations’ members and employees receive college-level training.

About 80 percent of firefighters, law enforcement officers and emergency medical technicians receive training at California community colleges, COC Chancellor Dianne Van Hook said.

To save money and maintain much-needed courses for community college students, COC has decided to reduce its instructional-service agreements, most notably for the LAPD.

Because the Santa Clarita Valley is not served by the LAPD, reducing its training was a logical choice, Van Hook said.

“When we prioritize courses here and what we want to offer, we have to focus on what’s relevant to meeting our community’s needs,” Van Hook said.

During 2009-10, the equivalent of 3,249 full-time students were served through the agreements, according to COC.

That number has dropped to an estimated 2,545 this year with 1,615 scheduled next year, college officials said.

Of that, 1,180 full-time-equivalent students were from the LAPD, with 250 full-time students next year, COC spokesman John McElwain said.

The LAPD training began in 2001 at the Police Department’s request, Van Hook said. COC was rapidly growing and was able to accommodate the department training when the LAPD’s more local choice, the Los Angeles Community College District, didn’t have a high growth rate, Van Hook said.

“We had the capacity to grow when other districts did not,” she said.

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