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$18 Million For Regional Education Collaborative Led By Columbia College

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Columbia, CA — Columbia College will be the lead agency in a new three-year grant-funded initiative to help regional students find training and employment in fields like Healthcare, Education, and Computing/Engineering.

$18 million from the Regional K-16 Education Collaboratives Grant Program will both create and enhance local collaborative efforts between K-12 school districts, community colleges, the University of California system, the California State University System, and businesses.

The $18 million in state funding for the region was announced by Governor Gavin Newsom.

Joining Columbia College in the local effort include the University of California, Merced, California State University, Stanislaus, Mother Lode Job Training, Adventist Health Sonora, MACT Health Board, Apple Inc., and various school districts and regional county superintendent of schools offices.

The partners will work together to build out training and pathways for students in each of the three career areas with projects that fit into regional employment priorities.

Columbia College President, Dr. Lena Tran, says, “This is such an exciting opportunity for our rural counties. I’m very proud of this accomplishment, and we’re honored to serve as the lead for this very important effort that is by and for the rural mountain communities.”

She concludes, “We have been building our collaborative, have done a lot of research and planning, and are eager to move ahead with a variety of projects that will support our students, our schools, and our employers. What we’ll be doing is changing lives.”

Sonora High School is also involved. Superintendent Ed Pelfrey states, “This funding will focus on high-demand fields like healthcare, information technology, and education, ensuring that students in our community can pursue meaningful careers right here at home. This investment is not just about dollars; it’s about investing in our students’ futures and the future of our community.”

Yosemite Community College District Chancellor Henry Yong (YCCD oversees Columbia College) congratulates the community college and the others involved with the Sierra K-16 partnership. He says, “I want to thank our partners for this great opportunity of working together to better serve our communities. I hope this successful collaboration will lead to even more opportunities to seek funding that our communities need in this region.”

A press release announcing the collaborative, further details, “The seven-county Eastern Sierra region includes two distinct geographic regions; a core of four adjacent Mother Lode counties that have a long history of working together (Tuolumne, Calaveras, Amador and Mariposa) and are linked by the Highway 49 corridor, and three rural, remote counties on the Eastern side of the Sierra Nevada Mountain range (Alpine, Inyo and Mono) that are linked by the Highway 395 corridor. While the geographic region is very large, the small rural communities have a lot in common and are encouraged to see this significant amount of state resources focused on rural solutions.”

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