San Bernardino Valley College Partners With GenerationGo!
If students can just muster the confidence to take that first step onto the San Bernardino Valley College campus, they may find it’s a life changer.
Jenna Jacot was more than a little intimidated when first coming as an intern into the Generation Go! program, but she soon realized the collegiate setting was nothing to fear.
As it turns out, the internship was exactly what she needed. “The atmosphere and the people I worked with were nice, and they helped me a lot. I gained a lot of new skills that I didn’t have before,” said Jenna Jacot, one of nine students that interned in the college marketing department.
While going through the program, she was concurrently enrolled at SBVC and Cajon High School. The program ran eight weeks through the spring session.
She said the upside was working with new people and new circumstances. It gave her job experience, and among other skills, she learned Excel, writing skills, Photoshop and image editing.
From here, she will take the summer off, and then heads back to SBVC for the Fall where she is already registered as a college student. She was offered and took the job as an assistant in the college marketing department.
“Being in this environment was the best part for me,” she said. “I found out things that I’m good at, I found out the things I’m bad at, and was able to improve. I had a great experience.”
SBVC pilots Generation Go! as part of San Bernardino County Workforce Development Board Career GenerationGo! Career Pathways program.
Once students complete their college courses, they are placed with an employer, and receive workplace learning in the career pathway of their choice.
Patricia Quach, dean of the Academic Success & Learning Services Division, said it’s still early on in the program, but so far the data shows that participating students are more likely to complete high school and attend college.
San Bernardino Valley College serves three public school districts within their school boundaries, including Colton Joint Unified, San Bernardino City Unified, and will begin servicing Rialto Unified School District this summer.
This summer, she said they have 330 students signed up across the three districts.
Still, it’s not unusual for students to be unnerved coming into the new situation, since many are first-generation college goers. SBVC gives them a tour, and lets students know that they are actually a college student while they go through the classes.
“They ask, can I even do college?” she said. “Especially continuation students who may have been told all of their lives that they can’t do college.”
The first of the two-part program includes the SBVC job readiness skills certificate that focuses on workforce essential skills, also known as soft skills. Once completed, the students will then skip a term to continue their high school courses. Students carrying the concurrent enrollment courses at SBVC are then placed with a business of their career pathway during their following term.
So far, she said the program is seeing a strong success rate.
“They are also more likely to go to college,” she said. “We hope that this program is changing the culture and the mindset of the youth, that they are wanting to do more, and attend college so they can have a better career.”
The program started its first group of students at Cajon High School in fall 2018. Of the first group of 14 students, nine continued on with San Bernardino Valley College.
The second group attending continuation school, also had a 50 percent enrollment at SBVC after they graduated high school, she said.
Besides establishing their first real work experience, she feels the most promising aspect of the program is that students can get an early start to college, connecting with businesses to gain valuable experience in their careers.
She said it is a major benefit for all interested junior and senior high school students from participating schools.
“It leads to jobs, it builds up the workforce, which helps build up the community,” she said.
She is excited about the data coming out of continuation schools showing significant results. Through the program, she said they are less likely to have behavioral or attendance issues, and more likely to graduate high school.
She said they also take IEP and 504 students.
“Specifically, the continuation students are more likely to be successful in high school, and they’re more likely to go to college,” she said.
She said that participating juniors and seniors must complete the Generation Go! program by the time they graduate high school. She said they recommend that students start at the beginning of their senior year, or the summer before they start senior year.
GenerationGo! is open to all students interested in applying within the three school districts. The word is getting out as high schools help with recruitment. And as students apply, they concurrently apply to SBVC to become a college student.
“That’s the other beauty of this,” Quach said. “When they’re in this program, they are now Valley College students. That also changes their mindset to, ‘Yes, I can do college and I will continue and pursue.”