Mission Viejo, CA – Saddleback College was named one of 10 recipients of the $1.2 million “Innovation Maker” grant awarded by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office to strengthen science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) teacher workforce recruitment and training. The STEM Teacher Preparation Pipeline grant will allow colleges with existing Teacher Preparation Pipeline programs to focus on recruiting and training students interested in teaching STEM subjects, K-12, adult education, and career technical education (CTE).
The grant will enable Saddleback College to provide enhancements to its Teacher Preparation Pipeline program, including the creation of additional opportunities for internships and work experience in a variety of classroom and educational settings; collaboration between the California Community Colleges with the University of California and California State University systems to create a smoother transfer process for students in the STEM teaching program; and the increase of outreach to high school students interested in teaching.
Dr. Tod A. Burnett, president of Saddleback College, stated, “This grant allows us to equip aspiring teachers with the STEM teaching techniques that will shape our next generation of students. The jobs of the future depend on a STEM-educated workforce, and we look forward to training the teachers needed to get there.”
Orlantha Nin, Transfer Center coordinator, stated, “We are so pleased to receive this ‘Innovation Maker’ grant and continue in our support and education of future teachers here at Saddleback College.”
Saddleback’s Teacher Preparation Pipeline allows students to work in the classroom with a current teacher who serves as a mentor to evaluate together if teaching is a possible career choice. Currently, the college works with teacher-mentors in the Capistrano-Laguna Beach Regional Occupational Program, Coastline Regional Occupational Program, Capistrano Unified School District, and Saddleback Valley Unified School District. Students in the program can earn up to four units of California State University transferable credit, gain access to counselors who specialize in teaching careers, and benefit from workshops and individual appointments with representatives from teaching programs at the California State University, University of California, and private universities.