IMPERIAL COUNTY — Unemployment historically has been an issue with the quality of life in the Imperial County. Data shows that in January 2016, the Imperial County had a 20.5 percent unemployment rate. In contrast, the California and federal unemployment rates were 5.7 and 5.2 percent. It is believed programs that help elevate a person’s education and skill level can improve the chances of employment opportunities. For this reason, the Civil Grand Jury initiated an investigation to evaluate if the Imperial Valley College (IVC) Student Financial Aid programs and resources are contributing to an increased level of education and skills in the Imperial County.
The grand jury report acknowledged that recent costly growth and improvements at IVC have brought the campus’ quality to a level par with campuses located in larger metropolitan cities. However, it also recognized that excellent facilities and programs alone do not guarantee student success.
The Civil Grand Jury (CGJ) and IVC both acknowledged the need for support programs to help students achieve success in the process of setting and completing their college goals.
The report found that the local college’s physical facilities are first-class and the funds from various sources, such as Measure J. and bond issue L & J, have evidently been well spent. The campus has been transformed by the construction of the two Signature Career Technical Buildings, which was funded by Measure J.
It was also found that the number and quality of resources devoted to teaching students new technical and vocational skills on campus is excellent. The campus is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities which house smart classrooms and labs for programs such as administration of justice, building construction, correction science, electrical wiring, electronics, emergency medical technology, fire technology, peace officer standards and training, renewable energy, and welding technology.
However, based on the frequent amount of college students dropping out of IVC’s programs, the Grand Jury recommended the expansion and establishment of programs which focus on student support and success. These programs ideally include promotion of messages that encourage students to create a goal-focused mindset and establishment of short-term intermediate goals. They may also include student goal progress tracking and exposure to goal-focused career mentoring and working opportunities. Counseling related to work habits and student scheduling was also recommended. The Civil Grand Jury recommended that to the extent that these and similar programs exist, they should be expanded and strengthened, and to give serious consideration to those programs that do not presently exist.
The Grand Jury report concluded that jury members were impressed with the advancements made by IVC, and the college continues to be a vital part of the overall success and progress of the Imperial Valley community.