Rio Hondo considers axing environmental technology program

first_imgBrock said environmental technology was a booming field 10 to 15 years ago. But many colleges have now dropped their programs, she added. Enrollment in Rio Hondo’s program has dropped to 29 students spread out among four classes. In general, the college prefers at least 18 students in each class, officials said. Brock said the college will still offer courses dealing with the environment through other programs. The earliest that trustee could vote on discontinuing the program is March 21. But no vote has been scheduled as of yet, college officials said. tracy.garcia@sgvn. (562) 698-0955 Ext. 3051 165Let’s talk business.Catch up on the business news closest to you with our daily newsletter. Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! WHITTIER – Supporters of the environmental technology program at Rio Hondo College are decrying its scheduled demise at the end of this semester due, officials say, to low enrollment. No official action has been taken. But students in the program Wednesday night implored the college’s board of trustees to keep the program. “I see so much potential in this program. I can’t believe they’re trying to shut it down now,” said student Jeanette Ordenes of Whittier. Environmental technology deals with hazardous substances, the governmental regulations that pertain to such substances, and the protection of human health and the environment, according to a program brochure. Job growth in the field is expected to remain strong for years to come, particularly in such areas as air and water pollution control, hazardous materials and waste management, chemical spill response and site remediation and restoration, according to the brochure. Even so, Marilyn Brock, Rio Hondo’s interim vice president for academic services, said the local environmental technologies industry does not tap into the program or the training it provides. “The labor market statistics from the Los Angeles/Long Beach metropolitan area say the educational requirements for this field is one to 12 months of on-the-job training,” she said. “So they’re either training their own, or contracting with outside firms to do it. It doesn’t leave room for a college-credit program.” Victor Muniz, the program’s director, said he continually gets positive feedback from his contacts in government and private industry about how well-trained his students are. In addition, starting jobs in the field pay about $40,000 a year. Given that, it is difficult to understand why the college would “deny minority students the opportunity to get into a good-paying career,” Muniz said. “There are two objectives this college has – a responsibility to work force development and to move students on to higher education. In my opinion, this program has done both of those,” he said. last_img

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