Special Populations Collaborative

Effective Practices for Nontraditional Students


Fast Track to Work, Cabrillo College Women Ventures Project, Community Action Board of Santa Cruz County, Inc.

Dena Taylor, Program Manager
Helen Ewan-Storey,Program Director
831-479-6147 831-763-2147 x 211
detaylor@cabrillo.edu wvp@cruzers.com

Target Population: Nontraditional, Economically Disadvantaged, Single Parents Goals: To support the Women Ventures Project in recruiting, training and supporting nontraditional educational and high wage workplace opportunities in construction occupations. Description: Cabrillo College has formed a strong partnership with a regional nonprofit organization, the Community Action Board of Santa Cruz County (CAB), to support educational and workplace opportunities for low-income women preparing for construction occupations. The CAB’s Women Ventures Project (WVP) has developed a 5-week program that recruits and trains women who are at 200% of poverty level, focusing on career exploration, physical conditioning, hands-on construction skills, worker’s rights information, job placement assistance and case management. Dena Taylor, Program Manager for Cabrillo College’s Fast Track To Work (FTTW) program, is a CAB board member and liaison supporting collaborative efforts between the nonprofit organization and the college. Cabrillo and WVP regularly refer students to each other’s programs and services; the College sometimes provides classroom space for WVP trainings; and Cabrillo is exploring the addition of a construction module to 47 complement/enhance the WVP program. Together, the two programs work proactively to understand what skills and knowledge employers in the construction industry want, and then seek to prepare women for these high wage – high demand nontraditional career options. Staffing: WVP includes a program director, a job developer/training coordinator, and a case manager/job service specialist. Cabrillo’s Fast Track To Work includes a program manager, Services Coordinator, academic counselor and program specialist. Costs, funding source: Cabrillo College – State and Federal TANF and CalWORKS funds, County of Santa Cruz (CalWORKS & Workforce Investment Act), California Community College Foundation and fundraising activities; Women Ventures Project – CalWORKs, City and County of Santa Cruz, private foundations and fundraising activities. Outreach and marketing: Cross-referrals between FTTW and WVP, marketing materials and outreach at service centers (e.g. County offices, food pantries, one-stop center, etc.). Evidence of effectiveness: WVP graduates have a 70 percent employment placement rate and earn wages averaging $17 or more per hour. Some WVP graduates enter Cabrillo for advanced training in specific trades or skills (e.g. welding or sheet metal apprenticeships) or to earn certificates and/or degrees. WVP was awarded a Community Project Grant Award from Soroptimist International of Santa Cruz in May 2005, and was included as part of the City of Santa Cruz’s Accessory Dwelling Unit program award in 2004 from the League of California Cities (Helen Putnam Award for Excellence). Fast Track To Work has received commendations from the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation (2002), the Workforce Strategy Center (2002), and the Workforce Investment Board of Santa Cruz County (2004) for providing excellent service to participants. The program manager received the “Women Helping Women” Award from the Santa Cruz Soroptimists in May 2004 for her work at the College and in the community Suggestions for replication: Colleges and non-profits would benefit learning about each other’s programs through site visits, sitting in on meetings and, if possible, joining Boards of Directors. Also, work with the local Workforce Investment Board to ascertain local labor market information for guidance in developing new training programs. Funding agencies look favorable on local collaborations.