Special Populations Collaborative

Effective Practices for Single Parents & Displaced Homemakers

Mt. San Jacinto College - Train the Trainer Outreach Project

Train the Trainer Outreach Project

College: Mt. San Jacinto College

1499 N. State St., San Jacinto, CA 92583

College Contact: Rhonda Dixon, Coordinator, Career Education Special Projects

rdixon@msjc.edu  or 951-487-6752 ext. 1604

Target population: All special populations, particularly single parents, displaced homemakers, and single pregnant women.

Goals: To streamline outreach efforts by coordinating information on the college, and training individuals in community agencies who can refer potential students to the college.

Description: Formerly, the college piloted a project to employ two special populations outreach coordinators to visit community agencies and traditional as well as alternative educational institutions to recruit students. When funds to employ the outreach workers were exhausted, the college adopted a "train the trainer" model. Information on the college was grouped into four categories: Matriculation, Financial Aid, Student Services, and Career and Technical Education. Binders containing resource information on theses four topics and accompanying PowerPoint presentations were prepared. The college conducts train-the-trainer sessions to selected individuals at community agencies and institutions at no cost to the requesting agency. This initial train-the-trainer session takes about 3 hours to complete. These individuals in turn train their co-workers, by presenting the PowerPoint and resources for any one of the four topics. These presentations are planned to be approximately 15 minutes in length and integrated easily into staff meetings at the community agencies/institutions. The training enables community workers to become knowledgeable of the college's offerings, and to provide this information to their clients and refer them to the correct contact points on campus. This practice has centralized information on the college and reduced confusion on the part of prospective students. This has been particularly valuable in working with social service agency clients who are primarily single parents and displaced homemakers. Mt. San Jacinto College is in the process of training other colleges in the region to adapt the strategy to their settings. The college is also preparing annual updates to send to trained agencies.

Staffing: The project was developed by the Coordinator for Career Education Special Projects who was assisted by a consultant and student workers. The coordinator conducts the training, and the student workers prepare the binders for distribution. It is recommended that colleges wishing to implement the same strategy employ a project coordinator to work with their campus colleagues and departments for up to 40 hours to tailor the materials to their particular site. Trainings could be conducted by any of several college departments traditionally involved in outreach. Implementing colleges should also plan to employ a student worker for approximately 40 hours to compile resource materials and prepare binders for the trainings.

Facilities, equipment, materials: The training takes place at the community agencies. Materials covering the four topics - Matriculation, Financial Aid, Student Services, and Career and Technical Education - are assembled into binders that are left with the agencies. It is suggested that trainings include a review of the PowerPoint presentations using a laptop and projector, although successful trainings have been conducted without that review because hard copies of the PowerPoint presentations are included in the resource binders.

Costs, funding source: The Mt. San Jacinto cost to develop their materials and the train-the- trainer model were supported by a regional consortia VTEA grant. It costs approximately $900 to prepare 100 binders containing campus materials and presentation CDs. Additional costs include 40 hours of coordinator time and 40 hours of student worker time.

Outreach and marketing: The college has sent letters and flyers to community agencies and institutions offering the train-the-trainer sessions. They have worked through their career and technical advisory committees, the area tech-prep consortium, and have developed very close ties with the CalWORKs agency and social services. The message they deliver is that they will train a core group of individuals who can in turn train the rest of the agency staff.

Evidence of effectiveness: Participants who receive the training are surveyed to obtain their reactions, and the response has been very positive. Newly trained trainers are also encouraged to give feedback to the college whenever they implement one of the four training modules. This feedback has been more sporadic, but also positive. Preparing the materials has been a collaborative process on the campus and has resulted in much better on-campus communication and collaboration. The practice has resulted in many more referrals to Mt. San Jacinto College. When these referrals come to the campus they are more aware of campus resources and procedures. It has given the college more visibility in the community.

Suggestions for replication: The practice has been designed to be transferable to other colleges. Mt San Jacinto College is currently developing a facilitatorís guide to encourage replication by other colleges. The guide should be available in summer 2005.

Return to Single Parents & Displaced