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Cerro Coso will not be leaving Tehachapi

Cerro Coso’s Coyote Corner

Cerro Coso Community College (CCCC) would like to reassure the residents of Tehachapi and surrounding communities, it is not leaving.

“The college is working collegially with the Tehachapi Unified School District (TUSD) to restructure facility space at the Snyder Avenue campus in a way that meets the needs of both educational institutions,” said CCCC President Dr. Sean Hancock. “While the details are still being worked out, it is agreed that Cerro Coso Community College will remain at the Tehachapi Education Center, serving the educational needs of the Greater Tehachapi region.” The college will need to relocate some of its offices and classrooms to other spaces both within and nearby the facility. However, the suggested modifications to the lease agreement will have minimal impact on the programs and services offered at the CCCC Tehachapi campus. “We are looking at a three-year lease renewal while we investigate opportunities for a permanent new home in Tehachapi.

“Cerro Coso’s partnership with the TUSD is stronger than ever, and we look forward to increasing early college opportunities by identifying new career technical education pathways that meet the growing needs of local industry partners. “Our message to the Tehachapi community,” said Hancock. “We are here to stay!”

Cerro Coso’s East Kern Campus is booming since expanding its academic offerings into the area in 2014 filling a critical and growing need.

The college started offering an evening program at the Tehachapi High School in the fall of 2014 with five general education classes and enrollment of 65. At the time, classes were held at the high school as the school district renovated the Tehachapi Education Center. In the fall of 2015 Cerro Coso moved its offerings to the Tehachapi Education Center with six classes and 93 enrollments. Also, that semester the college finalized a dual enrollment agreement with the school district and began offering calculus-level math and the first classes of an entire Medical Assisting Program at the high school. Those courses helped 58 high school student receive college credit.

Over time, offerings have expanded significantly and now include programs in Administrative Medical Assisting, Welding, Emergency Medical Technician, Police Officers Standards of Training (P.O.S.T.) Academies, Private Property and Security, Entrepreneurship, Associate Degrees, Associate Degrees for Transfer; and a wide-range of Career Technical Education programs are available 100% online. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected in-person classes over the last two years. This spring the college is offering nine course with face-to-face instruction and plans to increase that to 13 this coming fall. There are currently nine dual enrollment courses being offered at the Tehachapi High School with an estimated enrollment of 150 to 175 students.

Cerro Coso has experienced continued growth in serving the East Kern region pre-COVID-19, demonstrating community need and interest in educational opportunities. The college saw an increase in on-campus enrollment of 271.35%, and an increase of 91.35% for online course enrollment. The Tehachapi campus also serves as the operational hub for the Incarcerated Student Education Program (ISEP), which has seen an increase in enrollments by 3,888.10% combined for Tehachapi CCI and the California City Prison.

The college submitted a substantive change proposal with ACCJC to establish the Tehachapi Education Center as an official campus location of Cerro Coso Community College in the spring of 2016. In terms of students served, the East Kern campus has become the second largest physical campus at the college (after the main campus in Ridgecrest) due in large part to the outreach, recruitment and development of relationships in Tehachapi.

“We have grown very attached to the communities in the East Kern region,” said Dr. Hancock, “and we are not going anywhere.”