Bakersfield College Rural Initiatives will begin classes on Jan. 14. They will offer students a variety of courses to help them prepare for careers in nursing, education and as emergency medical responders.
Program director Jaime Lopez said the mission of BCRI is to bring college closer to home in rural communities.
"Our goal is to close equity gaps and increase educational attainment for those in rural areas like Wasco," he said. "We are a community college open to all students anywhere from those currently attending a high school that want to get a head in their education to returning adults who are currently in the workforce seeking career advancement and retraining opportunities."
Classes are cost-friendly at $46 a unit. Each class can vary from one unit to nine units. The majority of courses are three units. There is also financial aid available to those adults that qualify.
Students can register up for the new session until Jan. 14. Most classes are 16 weeks, and they last from January through May.
An express enrollment event will take place on Jan. 4 from 3 to 7 p.m. There will be a team of support and financial aid staff, advisors and counselors to assist students in the matriculation process to get registered.
The program currently offers three certificate courses, including:
–A nursing assistant program that prepares students to take the state certification test to become certified nurse assistants.
–An associate and assistant teacher program for those interested in working with children at daycare centers or in an elementary school setting.
–An emergency medical responders course to prepare individuals for initial basic life support outside of a hospital setting. These are those that would first arrive at an emergency situation or accident scene.
Classes are free to high school students. There are also some free non-credit certificate classes that are open to everyone.
"These would include general education, basic office skills and basic English classes," Lopez said.
They offer hands-on training.
The nursing and emergency medical responder classes have a hands-on lab component to them.
For high school students, units completed will go on their college transcript, and they can transfer those credits to a university of their choice.
"It will make them more competitive when applying to a top-level university," Lopez said.
Of the Rural Initiatives program, Lopez shared that there are many benefits to the community.
"We are helping the community by providing an opportunity for upward mobility through education. We hope to give students confidence, letting them know that college is for them and that they can achieve all their educational goals."
Classes are held at the Wasco Adult Education Center at 1445 Poso, adjacent to Wasco Independence High School. For more information, call 661-758 -7414 or follow them on Facebook at Bakersfield College Rural Initiatives.