Image: Scenes from around campus

Posts Filed under Merritt College

As Seen On TV: Roadtrip Nation Visits Merritt College

16 October 2019

Roadtrip Nation is coming to Merritt College! Come visit the big green RV on the Merritt College campus on Thursday, October 17.

The Roadtrip Nation Roadies are here to debut their newest career exploration tool, Roadmap to Careers—a free resource for all of our students! Swing by their RV outside of the Merritt College library between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. to get the free login credentials and to hear more about Roadmap to Careers. Snag some swag and learn more about how this free online resource will help you take the next step toward your dream job.

You may have seen the big green RV of Roadtrip Nation on their PBS television series which started in 2004 and is still going strong. Roadtrip Nation combines reality television with career planning under the basic premise of “find what you love.”

Fun fact: did you know that Dr. Steve Pantell, Merritt College counselor and Articulation Officer, is a huge fan of the program and its online resources for career counselors? He enthusiastically connected Roadtrip Nation with the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office and after some negotiations the result is free access to the Roadtrip Nation “Roadmap to Careers” program for students at all community colleges in the state.

It’s going to be fun and educational! See you there!

Filed under: Arts & Culture, Merritt College, Press Release. Tagged:

Peralta Colleges Continue Unwavering Support for Undocumented Students

14 October 2019

Back in December 2016, out of deep concern that the newly elected president of the United States would soon remove the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) protections for undocumented residents granted by President Obama via Executive Order in 2012, the Peralta Community College District in Oakland, CA became one of the first community college districts in the country to state its support for DACA with Resolution No. 16/17-24 in Support of Undocumented & Concerned Students.

Three years later, the Peralta Colleges remain committed to our undocumented brothers and sisters, parents and children, students and community.  On October 8, 2019, the Peralta Community College District Board of Trustees affirmed and adopted Resolution No. 19/20-11, which continues the unwavering support that the Peralta District and Berkeley City College, College of Alameda, Laney College, and Merritt College have for our undocumented students and their families in our community. The resolution declares October 14-18, 2019 as Undocumented Student Action Week with a range of activities intended to raise awareness and continue support for our undocumented constituents.

Here is the full text of Resolution No. 19/20-11:

WHEREAS, the California Community Colleges comprise the nation’s largest postsecondary education system in the country with 115 colleges and 2.1 million students, and is committed to providing an open and welcoming environment for all students; and

WHEREAS, the Trump Administration’s decision on September 5, 2017, to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, placed the safety, security, and educational future of thousands of undocumented students in doubt; and

WHEREAS, California Community Colleges have advocated to Congress and the Administration to preserve DACA and respect the contributions of undocumented immigrants, and on January 26, 2017, the Board of Governors passed a resolution expressing its support for DACA and firm commitment to serving all students who can benefit from a postsecondary education; and

WHEREAS, California Community Colleges stand united as a system where all students can learn, grow, feel supported and safe; and

WHEREAS, on September 18, 2017, the California Community Colleges Chancellor issued a Statement of Values and Commitment to Undocumented Students confirming that the  Chancellor’s Office will not release any personally identifiable student information without a judicial warrant, including data related to immigration status, will not cooperate with any federal effort to create a registry of individuals based on protected characteristics such as religion, race, immigration status, or sexual orientation, and will urge local governing bodies to do the same; and

WHEREAS, the Peralta Colleges and numerous community colleges reflecting the diversity of California have adopted policies and procedures consistent with protecting immigrant students, and created partnerships with community organizations to help our undocumented students access legal assistance and other services in local communities; and

WHEREAS, the Chancellor’s Office, in partnership with the Community College League of California, Faculty Association of California Community Colleges, Student Senate of California Community Colleges, and other organizations, supported DACA Advocacy Week, on October 16-20, 2017, and provided tools such as Congressional contact lists, sample talking points, resolutions, and communications to mobilize the system in support of DACA,

WHEREAS, the 2017 DACA Advocacy Week efforts resulted in local meetings with Congressional leaders, more than 700 letters and postcards sent from students to members of Congress, and a number of colleges conducted week-long activities to raise awareness of campus-based support for undocumented students; and

WHEREAS, in 2018 the Chancellor’s Office expanded the existing partnership to include, Immigrants Rising and other organizations, and sponsored Undocumented Student Week of Action, October 15–19, to inform undocumented students about all available services on campus and in local communities and empower them to access those services, and support students and allies in advocating to Congress to act quickly and establish a permanent solution for undocumented young people; and

WHEREAS, the Peralta Colleges participated in the 2018 Undocumented Student Week of Action by engaging in a week-long program of activities in support of undocumented students, and the Peralta Community College District Board of Trustees passed numerous resolutions reaffirming its commitment to support all students throughout our district, including undocumented students, which was part of the week-long program of activities and information disseminated systemwide; and

WHEREAS, despite advocacy efforts by the California Community Colleges and many other individuals and organizations in California and across the nation, the preservation of DACA and the adoption of an effective solution for undocumented students remains elusive, which places continued economic and emotional weight on students, their families, communities, and the state; therefore be it

RESOLVED that the Peralta Community College District declares October 14-18, 2019 and every third week of October thereafter, as “Undocumented Student Action Week” to work in partnership with other organizations and encourage the California Community Colleges to engage in activities supporting undocumented students; and be it further

RESOLVED that the Peralta Community College District supports efforts by our Colleges to identify and share best practices for assisting undocumented students, disseminate information to the students about how to access funding for immigration defense proceedings and referral to legal service providers, and reinforce state policies that protect student rights and privacy; and be it further

RESOLVED that the Peralta Community College District urges Congressional members to uphold California values and create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented students, which will permit them to complete their education goals and achieve their highest potential.

Our college campuses have activities associated with Undocumented Student Action Week, which is also endorsed by the Community College League of California and the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office.  Check out the activities at Berkeley City College from the Undocumented Community Resource Center (UCRC), College of Alameda, and Laney College.

Daily online webinars for Faculty and Students are also available here.

Filed under: Announcements, Berkeley City College, Board of Trustees, College of Alameda, Laney College, Merritt College, Press Release. Tagged: ,

Peralta Colleges and the PG&E Shut Down

8 October 2019

***Update on Thursday October 10, 2019***

Good News!  Merritt College will be OPEN on Friday, October 11, 2019. The power is being restored so that tomorrow (Friday) classes can resume as scheduled.

So on Friday 10/11/2019 all four Peralta Colleges will be OPEN including:

Thank you for your patience with us as Merritt College and the Peralta District worked with PG&E to keep you and our community safe.

***Update on Wednesday October 9, 2019***

This is your daily update in response to the PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS). This message contains the latest information we have on the shutoff status on the various campuses.
Merritt College was closed today Wednesday October 9 and will remain closed tomorrow Thursday October 10. As expected the power was shut off on the Merritt College campus after 10pm last night (it was closer to midnight) and remained off for much of today.  In a message to Merritt College staff sent earlier today, President Burns confirmed that Merritt will remain closed on Thursday and explained that the decision to close the campus was based on conversations with PG&E and not conjecture. In fact PG&E is using Lot B across the street from Merritt as a neighborhood resource center.  Classes for Thursday have been CANCELLED.
While the main Merritt College campus remains closed, the Fruitvale location is open today and will remain open tomorrow.
Berkeley City College, College of Alameda, and Laney College as well as the Peralta District office remain open with courses taking place as usual.
We are cautiously optimistic that Merritt College may be able to open on Friday and resume regularly scheduled classes, but it is premature to make that decision at this time. President Burns has indicated that we hope a decision will be made about Merritt status tomorrow.  As a reminder, please continue to check Merritt and the other college websites before heading to them for work or class. Current status is posted on each website including the District site at Peralta.edu (which contains the information in this email announcement).   President Burns would like to remind us that the College closure was not simply a reaction to a single notice, but the result of conversations with PG&E, the Sheriff and the District.  We made the decision based on the information we received.  This was a preventive measure to ensure the health and safety of our students, staff, faculty, vendors, contractors, and community members.   We know it has been inconvenient.  But this action may have saved us and our community from a fire.
In summary, for tomorrow, Thursday October 10th:
  • Merritt College main campus is CLOSED. Classes are CANCELED. 
  • Merritt College Fruitvale location is OPEN. Classes are ON.
  • Berkeley City College is OPEN. Classes are ON.
  • College of Alameda is OPEN. Classes are ON.
  • Laney College is OPEN. Classes are ON.
  • The District office is OPEN. Work is ON. 
We will update you again on Thursday as to status for Friday October 11.

***Original Message from Tuesday October 8, 2019***

Dear Peralta Community,

As many of you may have read in the SF Chronicle local power company PG&E will be shutting off electric power in areas of Alameda County starting tomorrow.

As a result of this shut down, we know that Merritt College in Oakland will be without power and will be CLOSED on Wednesday October 9th and Thursday October 10th. Classes scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday are CANCELED. Please check the Merritt College website for updates regarding status for Friday October 11th. If the power shut off continues and Merritt College will be closed, we’ll post a notice by 6am on Friday October 11th.

Berkeley City College, College of Alameda, and Laney College will have power and thus will remain open this week. Classes will continue as planned. Please check the college websites or the Peralta website for the latest information about our colleges.

PG&E advised Alameda County that they will be shutting off power starting Wednesday to 600,000 people in select areas of Northern California, including 35,000 customers in Alameda County, where the total population is 1.6 million people. This power shutoff is planned due to concerns about fire danger to power lines in California. For an up-to-date map of the potential outage area, visit PG&E’s website.

We will continue to monitor the situation, and provide updates as needed.  Please contact Mark Johnson, Interim Executive Director of Public Information, Communication & Media by email at markjohnson@peralta.edu or by phone at 510-466-7369 (office) or 415-265-4645 (mobile) for updates on the PG&E shut-off and how it impacts Peralta, our colleges, our students, faculty, staff and community.

Filed under: Announcements, Berkeley City College, College of Alameda, Laney College, Merritt College, Peralta News. Tagged: ,

Peralta Urges U.S. Senate Approval of the FUTURE Act

2 October 2019

On September 24, 2019, the Peralta Community College District Board of Trustees affirmed and adopted Resolution No. 19/20-09, which urges U.S. Senate approval of the FUTURE Act, strongly supporting the uninterrupted continuation of federal funding to minority-serving institutions and urging members of the United States Senate to take speedy action to pass H.R. 2486 (the FUTURE Act) prior to September 30, 2019.

The resolution states that the Peralta Community College District (consisting of Berkeley City College, College of Alameda, and Laney and Merritt Colleges in Oakland) embraces the diversity of all the students attending the four colleges.  District enrollment data shows that 89% of the students enrolled at Laney College, 83% of the student enrolled at Merritt College, 87% of the students enrolled at College of Alameda, and 74% of the students enrolled at Berkeley City College are minority community members.

Furthermore, Merritt College is designated a Predominantly Black Institution (PBI), while Laney College, Merritt College, College of Alameda, and Berkeley City College have been designated as Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISI) and, as such, have been the recipients of federal funding.  Research has confirmed the positive impact that federal funding of minority serving institutions has had on low-income Asian American, Native American, Pacific Islander, Hispanic-American, and African-American students, especially those who are the first in their families to attend college.

On September 17, 2019 the United States House of Representatives voted to pass H.R. 2486, the FUTURE Act, which will continue federal funding for minority-serving institutions leaving implementation of said FUTURE Act up to the United States Senate. With the current federal funding for minority-serving institutions scheduled to end on September 30, 2019, unless the United States Senate votes to pass the FUTURE Act, the elimination of federal funding for minority-serving institutions will have an adverse impact upon the services Peralta Community College District has provided to students of color, low-income, first-generation, and limited-English proficient students.

The Peralta Community College District Board of Trustees strongly supports the uninterrupted continuation of federal funding to minority-serving institutions and through it‘s Resolution No. 19/20-09, and urges members of the United States Senate to take speedy action to pass H.R. 2486, the FUTURE Act prior to September 30, 2019.

To underscore the importance of FUTURE Act funding for the Peralta District, a delegation from Laney College visited the San Francisco offices of our California senators to make our case to our elected officials.  The delegation including Laney College AANAPISI Director Dr. David Lee, Laney College Dean Dr. Mildred Lewis, and Laney College students Huizhen Su and Jun Xian visited the offices of both California Senators, Diane Feinstein and Kamala Harris, on Thursday September 26th.

The Laney College delegation visits the office of Senator Diane Feinstein on September 26, 2019. Those pictured include Laney College AANAPISI Director Dr. David Lee, Mission College AANAPISI Director Brian Goo, U. S. Senator Dianne Feinstein District Director Jim Lazarus, Laney College Dean Dr. Mildred Lewis, and Laney College students Huizhen Su and Jun Xian

Laney College delegates visit the office of Senator Kamala Harris on September 26, 2019. Photo includes Laney College AANAPISI Director Dr. David Lee, U.S. Senator Kamala Harris District Director Adam Mehis, Laney College Dean Dr. Mildred Lewis, and Laney College students Huizhen Su and Jun Xian.

Filed under: Announcements, Berkeley City College, Board of Trustees, College of Alameda, Laney College, Merritt College, Peralta News, Press Release. Tagged: , ,

Peralta Community College District Receives Over $1.8 Million in Grants for Online Career Education

5 September 2019

 The Peralta Community College District has been awarded over $1.8 million in competitive grants to improve online career and technical education programs.  Berkeley City College, College of Alameda, Laney College, and Merritt College, as well as the Peralta District office, all received grants awarded by the California Virtual Campus-Online Education Initiative (CVC-OEI), Improving Online CTE Pathways Grant Program.

 

The California legislature and governor provided funding to support existing California Community Colleges in accelerating innovative online learning opportunities leading to increased employability and upward mobility for working Californians.  The Budget Act of 2018 (SB840) and trailer bill (SB843) appropriated one-time funds of $35 million and  provided competitive grants to community college districts to develop online programs and courses through the Online Education Initiative, the California Virtual Campus-Online Education Initiative (CVC-OEI) and Improving Online CTE Pathways Grant Program.  No matching funds are required.  

 

“We are delighted that the California Community Colleges and the Peralta Community College District are aligned and well-positioned to educate our diverse population in order to increase wages and improve social mobility in a rapidly changing economy, ” said PCCD Acting Chancellor, Frances L. White.

 

The largest grant within the Peralta district went to College of Alameda, which was awarded $450,880.31 to develop Online Career Education Opportunities at the College.  These opportunities include: 17 new online Career & Technical Education (CTE) courses; the updating of two hybrid online CTE courses; the improvement of access to opportunities for students; and the acceleration of the attainment of credentials for students in Aviation Maintenance Technology, Business and Entrepreneurship, Computer Information Systems, and Public Administration/Violence Prevention CTE programs. Eva Jennings, Dean of Career and Workforce Education  at College of Alameda says, “We’re excited about the opportunity to expand our programs and offer online Career Education opportunities to our students.”

 

Merritt College received a $413,009 award in the area of Accelerating Online CE Pathways to Employment, in order to build new online credit and noncredit certificates. CE Advisory Boards will identify skills needed to fill employment gaps and will concentrate programming on Business, Education, Allied Health, and Public Safety, as well as collaborate with faculty from other colleges to develop coursework that can be deployed regionally in a shared sequence.

 

A grant in the amount of $400,370.00 for Improving Online CTE Pathways with a Focus on ESOL and Adult Students has been awarded to Laney College in order to create and expand online opportunities in:  Business Management and Supervision; Construction Management, California Green, and Sustainable Building Standards; Legal Community Interpreting; and provide wraparound support through counseling and tutoring.

Berkeley City College, a recipient of a $282,300.00 grant for Innovative CTE Online Pathway Development and Quality Assurance for Students Success, will address gaps and build certificates to focus on workforce needs such as: Develop online course offerings and certificates in Multimedia Arts and Business, professional development for CE faculty in DE; and hire an Instructional Designer to coach, train, and guide faculty to ensure that all online courses created are aligned with the Online Equity Initiative Course Design Rubric. Dr. Francisco Gamez, Dean of Business, Science, Multimedia Arts, and Applied Technology, states that “BCC is excited to be awarded this grant to develop our online course offerings and certificates in Business and Multimedia Arts.  We wish to deliver student-centered online certificates that will meet the workforce needs of our community and region.“

 

The Peralta Colleges District Office has been awarded a CTE Online Equity Initiative grant in the amount of $319,000 that will be used to:  redesign the Peralta Online Equity Rubric and Training for CTE programs; extend the impact of the PCCD Online Equity Rubric and offer trainings and workshops to 300+ faculty throughout California; and train 20 PCCD faculty to incorporate equity principles into online CTE courses. The primary goal of this grant is to develop more inclusive career focused programs across the district.

Filed under: Academic Excellence, Berkeley City College, College of Alameda, Laney College, Merritt College, Press Release. Tagged: , , , ,

“Focus on Your Best Health” health care advocacy event May 18, featuring Congresswoman Barbara Lee

16 May 2019

Join us for a conversation with community healthcare leaders Glenda F. Newell, M.D. and Brenda B. Spriggs, M.D., co-authors of Focus on Your Best Health

Moderated by Michael LeNoir, M.D. of the African American Wellness Project

Featuring Special Guest Congresswoman Barbara Lee

Saturday, May 18, 2019
1-3 p.m.
Barbara Lee Science and Allied Health bldg. on Merritt College campus, Rm. S-449
12500 Campus Drive
Oakland, CA 94619

RSVP by May 11 to FocusOnYourBestHealth@gmail.com

Filed under: Announcements, Merritt College, Peralta News, Uncategorized. Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

Peralta partners with the Superior Court of Alameda County for Legal Processing Assistant and Courtroom Clerk certificates

3 May 2019

The first partnership of its kind helps students compete for livable wage jobs and provides the court a larger, more diverse collection of local talent to fill positions

OAKLAND, Calif. (May 3, 2019) – In a powerful pairing of academia and the judiciary, the Peralta Community College District (PCCD) and the Superior Court of California, County of Alameda announced today a partnership to offer a pathway into employment as a Legal Processing Assistant (LPA) or Courtroom Clerk.

A new program offered through the Paralegal Studies Program at Merritt College in Oakland, Calif. beginning this coming fall semester will prepare students for successful careers in public service. Programs for both tracks (LPA and Courtroom Clerk) can be completed within one-to-two semesters and will include work-based learning opportunities, application support, and interview preparation. Internships with the Superior Court are also being developed.

LtoR Hon. Tara Desautels (asst. presiding judge), Chad Finke (court executive officer), Kasha Clarke (chapter president, SEIU Local 1021), Merritt College President Burns, Linnea Willis (program director, Paralegal Studies), Marie Amboy (director, Strong Workforce, PCCD)

“The new partnership will make training for Legal Processing Assistant and Courtroom Clerk positions more accessible to the local community and equip graduates to participate in the workforce and earn a living wage,” said Marie Amboy, strong workforce director, Peralta Community College District. “In turn, the Court will have access to a more diverse local talent pool with the skills needed to be competitive in today’s marketplace.”

According to Amboy, this is the first time a community college district has partnered with a local court and received support from their local union to address existing barriers to employment and to develop certificates and a clear pathway to livable wage jobs.

“The Court appreciates being a part of this unprecedented partnership with Peralta,” said Chad Finke, court executive officer, Superior Court of Alameda County. “We view this as a ‘win-win-win’ situation for our employees, job seekers and, most importantly, the public.”

Because these are online courses, Amboy said they are ideal for working students who are seeking a job with a living wage, great benefits, and inroads into additional roles and long-term careers in the justice system.

“Another key benefit is that the course program eliminates the requirement to take an exam, something when used as the primary criterion for placement can create a barrier to candidates who might otherwise excel at their job,” added Amboy.

The Court will be working hand-in-hand with PCCD to develop the content of the courses.
Hon. Tara Desautels (asst. presiding judge)

The Legal Processing Assistant Certificate will include these Merritt College Paralegal Studies courses:

  • Parlg 1: Introduction to Law and the Legal Profession
  • Parlg 4: Law Office Management
  • Parlg 6: Legal Research
  • Parlg 16: Seminar in Paralegal Studies Internship
  • COPED 474A: Occupational Work Experience in Paralegal Studies

The Courtroom Clerk Certificate will include these Merritt College Paralegal Studies courses:

  • Parlg 1: Introduction to Law and the Legal Profession
  • Parlg 4: Law Office Management
  • Parlg 6: Legal Research
  • Parlg 8: Intro to Civil Procedure and Litigation Practice
  • Parlg 16: Seminar in Paralegal Studies Internship
  • COPED 474A: Occupational Work Experience in Paralegal Studies

To apply to the Fall 2019 program, students must complete and submit an application by Wednesday, July 31, 2019. For more information or to request an application form, please email: strongworkforce@peralta.edu.

The courtroom clerks are responsible for clerical courtroom activities, interacting with the attorneys and the public, administering oaths, assisting with the impaneling juries, and are responsible for the inventory and safekeeping of the exhibits. A Courtroom Clerk currently makes between $26 and $31 per hour.

Legal processing assistants receive, examine, prepare, file, process and maintain a variety of legal documents; assist the public in person and over the telephone; and, verify, enter and retrieve information from automated and manual record keeping systems. LPAs are distinguished from Courtroom Clerks in that the latter perform clerical activities within a courtroom setting. An LPA currently makes between $22 and $26 an hour.

While the program’s benefits to job seekers and the courts are clear, the program is also blessed by the union, who see it as an excellent opportunity to up-train its members.

“SEIU couldn’t be more excited about the opportunities this program will bring to our community, as well as increase the Superior Court’s accessibility to additional qualified candidates,” said Kasha Clarke, chapter president, SEIU Local 1021.

“Our Merritt College Paralegal Studies Program is experienced in training future paralegals, law clerks, attorneys, legal secretaries and various other positions within the legal industry, and this partnership will create job opportunities for our existing and future students,” said Linnea N. Willis, program director, Paralegal Studies Department, Merritt College. “Court clerks are the backbone of the court system and we look forward not only to educating students to become legal processing assistants, but also to educating existing legal processing assistants so they can obtain advancement and promotion within the Alameda County Superior Court system.”

About the Peralta Community College District

Founded in 1964, the Peralta Community College District (PCCD) is a collaborative community of colleges comprised of Berkeley City College, College of Alameda, and Laney and Merritt colleges in Oakland, Calif. The Peralta Colleges provide a dynamic multicultural learning environment offering accessible, high-quality educational programs and services; including two-year degrees, certificates, and university transfer programs, to nearly 30,000 students. PCCD is home to award-winning Peralta TV (Comcast ch. 27/28, AT&T ch. 99) and public radio KGPC 96.9 FM. To learn more about The Peralta Colleges, visit www.peralta.edu

About Merritt College

Nestled in the hills above San Francisco Bay, Merritt College in Oakland, Calif. offers students the opportunity to study in one of the most dramatic natural settings in Northern California. With a panorama that includes the Golden Gate Bridge and the Pacific Ocean, Merritt’s striking vistas provide a breathtaking backdrop for a packed roster of first-rate academic and vocational programs. One of the four colleges that make up the Peralta Community College District, Merritt boasts acclaimed programs in cybersecurity, community social services, registered nursing, child development, nutrition & dietetics, environmental studies, and landscape horticulture. Visit www.merritt.edu

About the Superior Court of California, County of Alameda

The Superior Court of California for the County of Alameda is established under Article VI of the Constitution of California. It functions as the trial court for all cases filed in Alameda County, including criminal, civil, family, juvenile, and traffic. The Court has 73 authorized judicial positions, nearly 700 employees, and ten court facilities available to serve the public. In addition, the Court offers a host of other services, including a Self-Help Center and a robust Collaborative Courts program.

###

Filed under: Merritt College, Peralta News. Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Merritt College named Cyber FastTrack National “Top Tier College,” Leads California in cybersecurity talent discovery

29 April 2019

OAKLAND, Calif. (April 29, 2019) – Merritt College in Oakland, Calif. has reached the Top Tier (the top three percent) of U.S. colleges in identifying students with a natural aptitude to excel in cybersecurity.

Merritt College Cybersecurity Program students play a pivotal role in the national initiative launched by 25 state governors to close the elite cyber skills gap with China and Russia. After 17 days of Cyber FastTrack competition, Merritt College was ranked second in California and 33rd in the nation, out of 5,200 US colleges, in the number of students discovering their aptitude for cybersecurity careers. The open access discovery opportunity ends on May 10, 2019.

The state-by-state Cyber FastTrack leaderboard is posted at:

https://www.sans.org/cyber-fast-track/state-ranking

National rankings:

https://www.sans.org/cyber-fast-track/nationally-ranked

According to Alan Paller, director of research at the SANS Institute, “The leadership shown by Merritt College is commendable. Without the talent being discovered in Cyber FastTrack, shortages of elite talent will put the United States at a severe disadvantage in protecting power systems, financial systems and military systems in times of conflict, and protecting businesses and personal privacy in peacetime. Merritt College has set a high bar for other schools in California and in the nation.” 

Students who do well in the assessment will win access to a simulation/game called CyberStart in which they solve increasingly challenging real-world problems faced by cybersecurity professionals. They will also gain access to CyberStart Essentials, a hands-on, on-line cybersecurity foundations course, and they will become eligible for $2.5 million in scholarships for advanced study in cybersecurity and direct connections to employers seeking elite cyber talent. 

SANS Institute partnered with 25 state governors to launch Cyber FastTrack. “It takes very little work to expand participation and many students are surprised to learn they have a lot of talent and like the challenges,” added Paller. 

In launching Cyber Fastrack, the governors encouraged high school students (during March/April) and college students (April/May) to discover whether they liked cybersecurity challenges and had the tenacity, curiosity, and problem-solving skills needed by professionals in the field.

More information on Cyber FastTrack may be found at: https://www.cyber-fasttrack.org/

The Cyber FastTrack program rewards creativity while at the same time provides skills that could be used to land a well-paid job, so the 42 students from Merritt we have participating are really enjoying the challenge, said Marie-Elaine Burns, Ph.D., president, Merritt College. Our society is more dependent upon digital information than ever before, and protecting that information from cybersecurity threats has become a crucial aspect of information technology.

“That crisis makes our cybersecurity program increasingly popular and our graduates in keen demand,” she added. “In fact, we are proud to be graduating our fourth class of qualified cybersecurity professionals at Merritt College in May.”

The Consortium of Information Systems Executives (CISE), as well as leading CIOs/CISOs from across the Bay Area, developed Merritt College’s accredited two-year degree program in Applications and Infrastructure Security to address this crisis.

Merritt College is currently the only California community college to offer an Associate Degree in Information Security. The program was designed and is taught by San Francisco Bay Area Thought Leaders from companies including Symantec, McAfee, and Wells Fargo Online Banking, and has earned the support of Congressman Ro Khanna for its innovative approach to strengthening cybersecurity. CISE is dedicated to assisting less advantaged students with a one-of-a-kind opportunity and the program’s unique curriculum offers hands-on learning with real-world security systems to ensure graduates are prepared for the future of information security. For more information, visit: https://cisesecurity.com/

About SANS Institute

The SANS Institute was established in 1989 as a cooperative research and education organization. SANS is the most trusted and, by far, the largest provider of cyber security training and certification to professionals at governments and commercial institutions world-wide. Renowned SANS instructors teach over 60 different courses at more than 200 live cyber security training events as well as online. GIAC, an affiliate of the SANS Institute, validates a practitioner’s qualifications via over 30 hands-on, technical certifications in cyber security. The SANS Technology Institute, a regionally accredited independent subsidiary, offers master’s degrees in cyber security. SANS offers a myriad of free resources to the InfoSec community including consensus projects, research reports, and newsletters; it also operates the Internet’s early warning system–the Internet Storm Center. At the heart of SANS are the many security practitioners, representing varied global organizations from corporations to universities, working together to help the entire information security community. (https://www.sans.org)

About Merritt College

Nestled in the hills above San Francisco Bay, Merritt College in Oakland, Calif. offers students the opportunity to study in one of the most dramatic natural settings in Northern California. With a panorama that includes the Golden Gate Bridge and the Pacific Ocean, Merritt’s striking vistas provide a breathtaking backdrop for a packed roster of first-rate academic and vocational programs. One of the four colleges that make up the Peralta Community College District, Merritt boasts acclaimed programs in cybersecurity, community social services, registered nursing, child development, nutrition & dietetics, environmental studies, and landscape horticulture. Visit www.merritt.edu

About the Peralta Community College District

Founded in 1964, the Peralta Community College District (PCCD) is a collaborative community of colleges comprised of Berkeley City College, College of Alameda, and Laney and Merritt colleges in Oakland, Calif. The Peralta Colleges provide a dynamic multicultural learning environment offering accessible, high-quality educational programs and services, including two-year degrees, certificates and university transfer programs, to more than 30,000 students. PCCD is home to award-winning Peralta TV (Comcast ch. 27/28, AT&T ch. 99) and public radio KGPC 96.9 FM. To learn more about The Peralta Colleges, visit www.peralta.edu

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Spencer Moore, Peralta Community College District

o (510) 466-7369, c (415) 317-7100, spencermoore@peralta.edu

or

Alan Paller, SANS Institute

(301) 520-2835, apaller@sans.edu

Filed under: Merritt College, Peralta News. Tagged: , , , , , ,

Inspiring KQED piece features Merritt College student Montel Floyd

18 April 2019

When Montel Floyd graduates in May from Merritt College, he’ll be the first person in his family with a college degree. Check out this inspiring piece from KQED. #inspiration #communitycollege

 

https://www.kqed.org/news/11739400/at-these-high-schools-enrolling-in-college-isnt-just-encouraged-its-required

 

Filed under: Merritt College, Peralta News, Student Spotlight. Tagged: , , , ,

Oakland magazine features Merritt’s Natural History Program

3 April 2019

Merritt College Is Training the Next Generation of Naturalists

The Oakland community college has a new program for park rangers, interpretative guides, urban farmers, environmental consultants, park managers, and more, and seeks to attract people of color.

When you picture a career in the natural sciences, the image most likely involves years of academia, multiple degrees, and groundbreaking research at world-class universities.

That certainly may be the top-of-the-career-food-chain goal for many, but there’s an entire ecosystem of jobs out there in the natural world — from park ranger and interpretative guide to urban farmer, environmental consultant, park manager, and more.

To get an entry-level foot in one of those doors, check out the new Natural History & Sustainability program at Merritt College (Merritt.edu/wp/nhs). The interdepartmental program, which kicked off with a soft launch of course work last fall, is a rarity at the community college level, said the program’s director, Brad Balukjian. It aims to prepare students for the workforce through sound academics, but also by getting their hands dirty with field work in activities like rebuilding hiking trails or restoring wildlife habitats.

“With the green emphasis in today’s world, a lot of government agencies are needing more people, whether its regional parks or state or national parks, not to mention nonprofits, environmental consulting firms — there are so many nonacademic jobs out there, but so few training programs for these kinds of jobs,” said Balukjian, who holds a doctorate in entomology and also started the Ph.D. program in environmental science, policy, and management at UC Berkeley more than a decade ago.

“While the research universities turn their backs on the traditional ‘ology’ classes like herpetology or ornithology, we have a unique opportunity to double down on them,” he wrote on the department’s website. “It’s nice to know signatures of population structure in the genome of the acorn woodpecker, but what good is it if you don’t know what an acorn woodpecker is?”

The new program offers course work in three tracks — natural history/resources, conservation/resource management, and urban agroecology. Current courses will count toward certificates of achievement that are being developed for each track and should be in place by the spring 2020 semester.

The East Bay Regional Park District has partnered with Merritt to develop this practical approach to environmental education. “One of challenges we’ve had is not having a training program locally that would prepare youths to compete for these kinds of jobs in the park district,” said Jim O’Connor, the district’s assistant general manager.

“I see this program as giving them the basics, the conservation history and background, but also things like park operations, interacting with customers, running campgrounds, resource management work, public safety,” O’Connor said. “Students will actually go out to the parks and do work, help build a trail, put up some fence lines, help staff a special public event. Then, when jobs come available, they’ll be coming in with some really valuable skills.”

Courses range from core topics like geology and marine biology to Indian Ecology of the Central Coast, Natural History of the Islands of California, and even art classes on botanical drawing.

Jenna Tidd of Walnut Creek started taking classes in the program last fall to “attempt a career change,” she said. 

“I realized I wanted to pursue a career that allows me to immerse myself in nature because it’s where I’m truly happy,” she said. “I signed up for the Islands of California class and was immediately hooked. I firmly believe that to be motivated to protect and conserve something, you have to first understand and appreciate it.”

There are field trips to Mount Diablo, Point Reyes, and other Bay Area parklands to examine frogs, snakes, lizards. There are courses on urban farming and food production.

There’s even a segment on social justice.

Merritt College has a long tradition of environmental science and natural history dating back to the late 1950s and the seeds of the environmental movement, but the new program reboots it for the 21st century with a big focus on diversity, Balukjian said. Specific outreach is designed to appeal to people of color who have long been underrepresented in these fields and even in participation in nature-related activities.

“In the environmental sciences, there is definitely a lack of diversity of people of color and in terms of women,” said Analisa Brown, a marine biologist teaching Merritt’s first-ever Intro to Marine Biology course. She also serves as outreach coordinator, introducing the program to local high school students.

She herself is a woman of color who was drawn to the sciences as a child.

“Ever since I was a kid, I always knew I wanted to work with animals,” she said. “When I stumbled upon the Discovery Channel, I absolutely fell in love with Shark Week. I didn’t know at the time what the careers were, what they were called. It was white men on a boat looking for sharks, and I knew I wanted to do what they did. And my passion stayed there.

“So I want to reach out to students who typically may not consider geology or sustainability or, yeah, marine biology as careers,” she said.

Even the program’s logo — a mottled tube lichen — was chosen with diversity in mind. It’s made up of two to three organisms living together (fungus, alga, and bacterium), which Balukjian said represents the interdisciplinary course work. And the lichen is considered an “underappreciated organism,” he said, “much like people who’ve been underrepresented in the field.”

“People of color make up the largest portion of students at Merritt at nearly 80 percent,” he said. “How do we get over his perception that [natural science] is a white person’s activity? I try to get across that nature really is for everybody, and people of all groups should be participating. With this new program we’re building, we wanted to address this specifically, not shy away from it.”

Program coordinators are hoping to attract youth, but also returning students who may want a career change.

“I tell students very honestly, you don’t go into this to get rich,” Balukjian said. “But you can make a good living and, to me, the greatest benefit is you’re often working outside. People that do this work are just passionate about the work itself.”

Filed under: Merritt College, Peralta News, Uncategorized. Tagged: , , , ,

  • Peralta Colleges

    Monday 18 November 2019
    Powered by Wordpress

  • Peralta Community College District is comprised of Berkeley City College, College of Alameda, Laney College, and Merritt College. Together they provide northern Alameda County a range of educational programs and life-long learning opportunities.
  • Peralta Colleges on Facebook Peralta Colleges on Twitter Peralta Colleges on YouTube Peralta Colleges on Instagram Peralta Colleges on Linkedin

  •