Fifth and Final Cohort of Information Technology–Geographic Information Systems Essentials Program Includes 22 Participants

Article by: Melinda Eddleman

As a short-term training and job placement assistance program targeting four Information Technology (IT) areas, including Cybersecurity, Geospatial Technology, Programming and Networking and Data Communications, Del Mar College’s IT-GIS Essentials Program came to a close as its fifth and final cohort of students took center stage July 10.

Just like a regular graduation ceremony, the 22 participants received certificates, badges or both as they walked to the small stage at the front of the auditorium-style classroom in the Venters Business Building to receive their reward for their accelerated coursework.

The program has been part of a three-year $20 million grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration that allowed seven partnering institutions––including Del Mar College––to establish the National Information Security & Geospatial Technologies Consortium (NISGTC) to offer the accelerated training program at those institutions.

The NISGTC is a national consortium of community colleges comprised of award-winning National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education Centers and other leading colleges and national strategic partners. These institutions came together to expand and enhance a variety of best-in-class education and training strategies to help trade-impacted and other low-skilled workers persist, complete postsecondary education and secure employment with family sustaining wages in the information technology industry.

Since beginning the training program two summers ago at Del Mar College, 134 area residents have participated in the NISGTC fast track courses with 49 participants receiving certificates, meaning they completed all five accelerated courses. All participants receive badges for their work.

Students took five mini courses that count toward the IT–GIS Essentials certificate. These courses provide 32 continuing education units (CEUs) and cover five high-demand, high-tech sectors including computers, program logic and design, PC operating systems, databases and geographic information systems (GIS) and global positioning systems (GPS). 

The 12 program graduates who received their certificates are Criselda Aguirre, Elba Colmenero, Annette Crossno, Ricardo Garza, Marie Gonzalez, Risa Jackson, Steven Mungia, James Peterson, Marlo Peterson, Vernon Phillips, Steven Puente and Carol Valenzuela. 

Participants who received badges for the coursework they completed include Kathryn Briones, Erica Funes, Andrew De La Paz, Heather Inkpen, Warren Kininmonth, Lucas Martinez, Meghan Martinez, Venessa Martinez, Seth Pasahow and Reynaldo Rodriguez. 

Among the certificate graduates was Annette Crossno, who is a participant of the College’s dual enrollment initiative and working on her General Education Development (GED) high school equivalency certificate, too. Her schedule included taking GED courses from 9 a.m. until noon each day and then attending her IT courses from 1 to 5 p.m. 

“She’s a nontraditional student who had a grueling schedule, and her transportation was her bicycle,” said Christina Alvarado, career specialist with the College’s Computer Science, Engineering and Advanced Technology Department. “Most times she had to ride her bike from the Venters Building to the Center for Economic Development, regardless of the weather, [but maintained very high grades].”  

Alvarado added Crossno is a grandmother and said that she missed spending valuable time with her grandchildren, but going through the program enriched her life immensely.  

“It took her tenacity, perseverance and a commitment to reach her goal to finish the program on a very high note,” added Alvarado. “I’m very impressed with Annette since there were many, many participants in far better situations then her who gave up for the smallest reasons.”

To read Crossno’s personally written testimonial about the program, click here.

IN THE PHOTO: Among participants in the final cohort who attended the July 10 graduation ceremony are (from left) Heather Inkpen, Risa Jackson, Vernon Phillips, Criselda Aguirre, Ricardo Garza, Marlo Peterson, Elba Colmenero, Warren Kininmonth, Annette Crossno, Reynaldo Rodriguez, Meghan Martinez, Carol Valenzuela and Steven Mungia. 

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