Abriendo Caminos


Developing California's Workforce:
Creating Pathways for Latino Transfer Students in High Demand Careers


The purpose of this cooperative arrangement is to increase the preparation of Latino and lowincome
students from two Los Angeles-based community colleges (College of the Canyons and
Los Angeles Pierce College) so that they can successfully transfer to California State University,
Northridge (CSUN), be prepared for upper division course work, and graduate in high-demand
careers. We propose to provide academic support to increase the number of Latino students who
successfully transfer from these two-year institutions to CSUN and provide ongoing academic
and mentoring support to increase completion rates, particularly in the following areas:
Animation, Graphic Arts/Multimedia Design, Accounting, Business Administration, Marketing,
Nursing, and Manufacturing Systems Engineering.

Our new students from Latino and low-income communities bring cultural and linguistic capital
and diverse experiences that enrich our campus life and programs. Often the first members of
their family to attend college, these students may require additional assistance with English and
math skills and social and economic support networks to adjust to higher education. These needs
require that our institutions adjust our systems for academic support, student services, and
communication. This project proposes to provide research-based best practices to support Latino
and low-income transfer students, engage them in new career options, and help them succeed. It
is anticipated that our external evaluation, conducted continuously throughout the project, will
inform us of specific, successful strategies that can be applied to the larger campus community to
institutionalize success for future students.

CSUN, College of the Canyons, and LA Pierce College are in a unique geographical location and
share a similar student population with similar needs. All three share institutional strengths,
including new leadership and facilities; strong, shared governance; a focus on student needs; and
highly qualified faculty. All three campuses are fiscally sound -- despite cuts in state support for
public education -- and are looking towards alternatives for financing programs. All three are
accredited and have earned high praise for their work from accrediting agencies. The greatest
challenge and opportunity for our cooperative are changing student demographics and student
needs. The high enrollment of Latino and low-income students at all three campuses strengthens
our community, but also stresses our abilities to provide effective English and math remediation,
financial resources, and outreach support for those who are new to college life and expectations.
Through this project we will apply best practices that include tutoring, mentoring, textbook
lending, and more meaningful faculty engagement to increase the ability of students to
successfully transfer from two community college partners to CSUN, where they may excel and
complete their studies in high-demand career areas. Major strategies that will be utilized at all
three campus to support these students include high school outreach, development of
learning/support communities, peer tutoring and mentoring, faculty and student exchange
opportunities, and the development of Associate Degree Transfer plans between campuses.