State of LTCC: Officials excited for future
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Despite setbacks from the pandemic and Caldor Fire, Lake Tahoe Community College is excited for the year ahead.
During LTCC’s State of the College Address on Friday, Sept. 17, Superintendent/ President Jeff DeFranco said that during the height of the Caldor Fire, the entire college district was under mandatory evacuations and for most of the summer, the college was impacted by smoke. However, because of the lessons learned from COVID, the school transitioned to go virtual, so school wasn’t interrupted too much.
Much of DeFranco’s speech centered on fire impacts, preparedness and the future. LTCC was awarded $10,000 from the California Community College Association for the Emergency Wildfire Relief Fund. Every student impacted by the fires is eligible for a $250 grant.
The school is focusing on making the school a fire prepared campus and they’ve launched a new forestry program for Fall 2022.
The program will lead to stackable certificates and an Associate in Science degree and provide direct pathways to jobs with the U.S. Forest Service and CAL FIRE. Students will learn the science behind how forests burn, how they become more resilient, and they will gain the knowledge necessary to increase active forest management around Lake Tahoe and the western United States.
The school’s fire academy was an integral part of fighting Caldor. Every single 2021 fire academy graduate worked on the fire. The school is moving forward with securing funding to build the Tahoe Basin Public Safety Training Center on campus. The center will provide the equipment and training space to educate future Fire Academy cadets and fire professionals from around the state.
DeFranco was also excited to announce more financial support for students.
COVID had a huge impact on LTCC students. The school served 1,100 less students last year because of the pandemic and more than 700 students owe a combined $300,000 for fees owed between Spring 2020 and Spring 2021. LTCC is forgiving up to $1,000 of college debt (tuition and fees) for each student enrolled at the school during the pandemic who wishes to return and finish their education.
LTCC CARES Grants are also available to new and returning students. New students can apply for up to $750, and returning students who received CARES grants before can apply for up to $500. As of June 2021, LTCC has awarded 524 CARES grants worth $306,000 to students, and funds are still being awarded.
The school is also putting a huge focus on diversity and inclusivity.
“My goal is to drive social and economic mobility for students with equitable outcomes for student completion, transfer and career placement in their chosen field,” DeFranco said.
One of the tools to move towards equity is Name Coach, which is an online tool called that students, staff and faculty can use to help people understand how to pronounce their name correctly, what pronouns they prefer, and a little bit about what their name means and how it came to them. Anyone receiving a LTCC email will be prompted to fill out their Name Coach profile.
In addition, the school is putting an emphasis on diverse hiring practices. They are actively recruiting diverse candidates and ensuring quality candidates are not just applying but are being hired.
The 2021-22 staff is the most diverse staff the school has had and over 50% of the new hires come from diverse backgrounds.
Finally, campus has significant grant dollars coming. LTCC just won nearly $5 million from a five-year Hispanic Serving Institute grant from the U.S. Department of Education. That funding will support Latino/a/x and low-income students in the Tahoe Basin, providing a solid foundation for those pursuing STEM degree and transfer pathways.
A two-year Dual Enrollment Grant worth $1.5 million was also secured to support even more Lake Tahoe Unified School District students in earning college credits at LTCC while still in high school.
LTCC also secured a five-year Trio Talent Search grant from the Department of Education that will serve 500 students annually at South Tahoe Middle School, South Tahoe High School, and Mt. Tallac High School. The funding will help low-income students graduate high school and enroll in college.
To learn more about all the new things coming to LTCC, visit http://ltcc.edu.
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