This report is a result of a focus group conducted during November 2001 as part of a Vocational Training and Education grant from the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office. The purpose of the focus group was to brainstorm ideas, recommendations and activities used by the participants: instructors, administrators and staff who are part of special populations programs at community colleges and/or other educational organizations.
The goal was to identify and describe effective ways for Health Occupation programs to facilitate the success of students from special populations. Special populations were defined as individuals with disabilities, individuals from economically disadvantaged families, individuals preparing for nontraditional training and employment, single parents, including single pregnant women, displaced homemakers, and individuals with other barriers to educational achievement, including individuals with limited-English proficiency.
The recommendations are in priority order with the top or most important methods listed first. The last group of recommendations were provided in response to specific barriers identified by the focus group.
Teach family finances, how to navigate the health care system, explain eligibilities, study skills and the Campus system's nuts and bolts.
Have manufactures/industry staff donate time and equipment to colleges.
Recruit Volunteers for Tutoring/Mentoring
Include military personnel.
Educate Campus on Spectrum of Disabilities (including non-visible)
Include students as well as faculty and staff.
Make Resources Easily accessible to Disabled Student Programs and Services
Facilitate All Required Licenses/Health Exams
Can be provided at a lower price on campus, have Nurse Practitioners do exams.
Establish Workability Programs
Place a Department of Rehabilitation Counselor on Campus
Will assist students to prepare and search for jobs.
Establish Resume Bank Statewide through Chancellor's Office
Include Companies Listing Jobs on Campus Website
Offer Employee Incentives to Hire Special Population Students
Offer Paid Internships
Encourage Greater Collaboration with County, City, and State Agencies
Promote Community Programs and Services that are Available
Provide Statewide 'Helpline' for Community College Students
Streamline Resources and Opportunities
Recruit and hire one person who knows available resources, develop web page for resources with links to Transportation, Childcare, etc. and increase staff's knowledge of resources as well as students.
Offer Field Trips
Conduct Activities/Intrinsic Learning for Employment
Post Universal Signs for Accessibility throughout Campus
Establish a 'Drop By' Information Booth on Campus
Staff with paid students (organized by student body).
Provide Roving Staff with Maps to Assist Students
Important at beginning of school year, they could wear 'need help, ask me' buttons.
Conduct Tours of Campus
Establish Student Health Services
Funded by student health fees, offer extended hours of service for emergency services to students and staff, required hearing and vision tests, blood pressure screening and classroom presentations on health-related topics.
RECOMMENDATIONS GIVEN IN RESPONSE TO IDENTIFIED BARRIERS
Subsidize transportation for students
Offer free bus passes for students
Coordinate car pooling to/from campus
Establish Transportation Department on campus
Recommend public policy change to allow students to ride free on public transportation
Provide assistive technology to all
Mandate physical accommodations for lab classes
Allow time to understand non-English speaking students
Offer financial assistance for single parents
Provide resources/funding to pay for books, accommodations, childcare
Provide adequate resources for all populations
Offer support groups for special populations to reduce intimidating environment of campuses
Provide required interpreter services
Fund students directly for basic needs (food, transportation, etc.)
Maintain updated resource information for faculty/staff
Use the Community College Foundations to find and write grants with faculty and staff input
Research and post high demand, high wage jobs
Actively recruit students for training in high wage jobs
Subsidize certain students to go through school, then work to pay it off
Provide 100% of students with access to and proficiency with computers
Teach and empower students to know and understand their rights
Provide accommodations and where/how to access them for classes
Provide adequate staffing for continuity
Conduct Rights and Responsibility classes for all special population students
Provide information on "navigating systems" to all students with resource guide/reference materials
Establish Mentor programs (linking 2nd year students with 1st year students)
Customize matching/pairing of mentors and students
Arrange for students with disabilities to work with other students
Research grants to establish mentoring programs
Establish funds and pay student tutors
Provide on-campus academic advising and tutoring
Establish on-campus childcare (use CalWORKs recipients to staff)
Design statewide program on childcare
Create daycare initiatives on campus
Offer subsidized, reliable childcare with nontraditional hours
Focus Group Participants:
Betty Bacon - San Diego University, Disabled Student Programs and Services
Jennifer Bird - County of San Diego, Health & Human Services
Marlene Jansky - Grossmont College, Disabled Student Program & Services
Rick Kirby - Grossmont College, Instructor, Cardiovascular Technology
Stan Schroeder, Grossmont College, Leadership and Economic Development Institute
Focus Group Leaders:
Susan Madison ,Consultant
Peter Mirche, Grossmont College Instructor
Developed and published under contract 01-005-002 with the California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office, State of California. Permission is hereby granted to reproduce this work, in whole or part, for classroom or curriculum use only. This work is exclusively the product of the Statewide Special Project Collaborative in Health Occupations operated by Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District and does not necessarily reflect the policy of the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges. This project is being implemented in association with the Statewide Health Occupations Advisory Committee.