Romali

Dr. Reagan F. Romali is the superintendent-president of Long Beach City College.

With high industry demand for skilled workers, Long Beach City College is rebooting its trade programs this fall — restoring some of the cuts made to career technical education (CTE) back in 2013.

“The trades are back,” CTE Dean Gene Carbonaro said. “We have to put out more skilled laborers … and we are giving students a chance to earn a really nice living wage without college debt. They can come here for two years and leave with a high-paying job. It’s a tremendous opportunity.”

Besides associate degrees, CTE students also earn valuable industry certificates that will help them get hired, Carbonaro said, emphasizing that attending a four-year university isn’t a student’s only option.

The seven restored and new trade programs include welding technology, automotive technology, construction technology (formerly carpentry), advanced transportation technology, electrical technology, advanced manufacturing and engineering technology (with an aviation/aerospace focus).

There also are a few related night classes being offered for DIYers, covering basic home and auto fixes, offered free to community members.

CTE programs, covered in part by state-funded Strong Workforce dollars, were only added based on evidence of employment demand in those fields, and college officials have been working closely with industry professionals to design the programs and curriculum to best-fit workforce needs.

With such high interest from employers, Carbonaro said there are already several partnerships forming with major companies, and he’s hoping for others (think internships, donated equipment, real-world workspaces and more).

LBCC Superintendent-President Dr. Reagan F. Romali, who is in her third year in that role, said the reboot of CTE programs at the college is already helping boost fall enrollment, which has been in decline and currently sits at about 20,000.

Also helping to boost enrollment, in CTE and other courses, is that qualifying full-time students can enroll for two years without paying tuition, thanks to the California College Promise and the Long Beach College Promise, she said.

“No longer is money a barrier for students to get a great public education,” she said.

Romali said she’s enjoying hearing the enthusiasm from the community for this upcoming school year, which starts Monday, Aug. 26. In particular, she and other staffers said the phones at LBCC have been ringing constantly with inquiries about the trades.

Although the new trade courses are getting the most attention, the college also is planning a couple of other changes this school year: Students this fall can look forward to the addition of multicultural centers on both campuses; a new office of basic needs will help connect students with food, housing and transportation resources (including complimentary bus passes, through a pilot program with Long Beach Transit); and, a new, eco-friendly parking garage is soon to break ground on the Pacific Coast Campus.

“LBCC is really experiencing some incredible times,” Romali said.

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