West Hills College Wins Innovation Awards for Higher Education

The sign for West Hills College Lemoore is seen in this file photo. 

Sentinel file photo

For the second year in a row, the West Hills Community College District won several California Innovation Awards for Higher Education.

West Hills, which is among 14 colleges statewide to be honored, earned accolades for two of its programs.

The awards also included $2 million and $1 million that the college plans to use to launch programs that prepare students for the workplace and to further train students in software development.   

“Innovation is at the heart of what we do here at West Hills,” Dr. Frank Gornick, WHCCD chancellor, said in the press release. “We are always in the process of evaluating and seeking to improve the programs we offer to students. We look to internal and external partnerships to help us achieve our ultimate goal - the relentless pursuit of student success. “

West Hills remains the only Central Valley college on the list. Additionally, it is  “the only two-year college slated to receive two awards.”

West Hills was recognized for two of its initiatives with the awards.

The first award was presented to West Hills’ prior learning program called “Quick Path.” The college, along with San Joaquin Delta College, the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning and AcademyOne, want to implement the Quick Path Program, “to develop a web-enabled prior learning assessment platform.”

“[It’s] making sure that our students can connect with the workforce. Both programs that we will launch with this money will be focused on that arena: workforce development,” Amber Myrick, district director of marketing, communications and public information, said. “ The other piece is that is an assessment that we want to implement that gives students credit for prior work experience. The first award is for Quick Path, which will help students complete their degrees faster if they have work experience.”

The second award remains to expand a partnership with Bitwise Industries and California Forward. The partnership involves offering job training for software developers through Bitwise’s Geekwise Academy.

“We are profoundly honored and humbled by the three-time recognition and we look forward to investing award dollars in ways that help our district respond to identified needs of our citizens, industries, and local and regional entities to address challenges facing the valley,” Dr. Stuart Van Horn, Vice Chancellor of Educational Services and Workforce Development at West Hills Community College District, said in the press release.

“Both the Prior Learning Assessment platform and the Bitwise business partnership are expected to reduce the time it takes students to complete degrees and credentials and reduce the total cost of attendance for our students, which is the intent of the Award for Innovation,” Anita Wright, WHCCD director of grants, said in the press release.

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