Hundreds Turn Out for 2nd Annual South Orange County Economic Report Luncheon

The South Orange County Economic Coalition and Saddleback College co-hosted the 2nd annual South Orange County Economic Report luncheon at the Saddleback College main campus on February 5th.

More than 275 business, government and community leaders attended the luncheon to learn about the economic health of south Orange County and shed light on opportunity gaps that may limit future growth. The report, for instance, showed that the south Orange County economy grew in several areas, including gross regional product, employment and average earnings.

“South Orange County is potentially the hub of future growth,” said Anthony Teng, the report’s principle author and dean of Saddleback’s advanced technology and applied science division.

But Teng also pointed to signs of potential trouble. Three “economic opportunity gaps,” as he called them, threaten to limit prospects for future growth, including affordable housing for young professionals and middle income families, lack of workforce training and development as well as continued transportation challenges along the I-5 corridor.

The luncheon drew over 50 public officials from throughout the area, including State Senator Pat Bates, Assemblyman Bill Brough, as well as mayors and council members of the 11 cities included in the report: Aliso Viejo, Dana Point, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, and San Juan Capistrano.

Lisa Bartlett, chairwoman of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, also spoke at the event. She expressed confidence that the region can overcome the challenges cited in the report. “If we all collaborate – the business community, the cities, the board of supervisors, transportation leaders – we can work through these issues and get to really great solutions,” she said.

Along with Supervisor Bartlett and Dean Teng, Lake Forest City Councilmember Scott Voigts and Orange County Business Council President and CEO Lucy Dunn also spoke at the event.

Mayor Pro Tem Scott Voigts of Lake Forest noted, “The 11 cities combined in this report will soon become the size of Nashville and Seattle, but businesses are struggling and find the need to reinvent themselves. Our city leaders need to be open to sensible and strategic growth to evolve with changing times and remain vibrant cities.”

Among those offering to take a lead in developing solutions to these challenges was Dr. Tod A. Burnett, president of Saddleback College and host of the event.

“Not only does Saddleback serve as a bridge for students transferring to four-year institutions and preparing for the workforce, but also as an important – in fact critical – resource for growing our local and regional economies,” said Dr. Burnett. Saddleback College is committed to its role as south Orange County’s first choice for preparing the workforce, and encourages the business community to look to the college as a partner in development and training.

In just its second year, the South Orange County Economic Report luncheon has quickly become a can’t-miss event due to the unique nature of the subject matter.

“No one else provides this kind of in-depth analysis of this special place we call south Orange County,” said Paul Simonds, government affairs manager for SoCalGas and chair of the south Orange County Economic Coalition board of directors. “We’re honored to partner with Saddleback College to present this one-of-a-kind analysis of our area’s economy.”

Dr. Burnett agreed and encourages more local businesses and local government leaders to take advantage of the many insights presented at the economic report luncheon next year.

Simonds continued: “Our goal for this annual event is that the local business community and local jurisdictions can walk away with a true sense of what’s happening in south Orange County, which accounts for 17.5 percent of Orange County’s total economy. The economic report is a road map for what the future has in store.”

About the South Orange County Economic Coalition
The South Orange County Economic Coalition serves as the leading voice for business throughout the region. Through advocacy, education and representation, SOCEC works to advance policies and legislation that promote a strong south Orange County economy and business climate. For more information, visit

About Saddleback College
Located in Mission Viejo, Saddleback College provides quality higher education and training to the greater south Orange County community. Having served more than 500,000 students since 1968, Saddleback College offers over 300 degree and certificate programs to help students reach their personal, career, and educational goals. Each year, Saddleback College adds more than 5,000 degree and certificate holders to the workforce, and transfers over 3,500 students to four-year colleges and universities throughout the nation. For more information, please visit

Saddleback Wins Grant for Manufacturing Pre-Apprenticeship Program

Saddleback College was awarded $495,534 by the California Apprenticeship Initiative, Pre-Apprenticeship Program to prepare students identified as at-risk for apprenticeship opportunities through the Manufacturing Pre-Apprenticeship Consortium (M-PAC). Recognized as one of the most effective training methods, apprenticeships combine classroom instruction with work-based learning. The M-PAC program addresses the need for a manufacturing workforce in Orange County, where over the next 10 years the need for skilled workers will far exceed the supply.

Despite Orange County’s prominence as a manufacturing base, no manufacturing apprenticeship programs currently exist in the region. Collaborating with the Southern California Tool and Die, Mold, Machinist and Metal Trades Apprenticeship Committee, M-PAC will focus on workforce skills development, industry need, a coordinated and integrated system of support for regional apprenticeship training, and providing historically underserved populations with skills for success in manufacturing apprenticeship. Students in the program will be provided work readiness soft skills training, simulated lab experiences, and student support services to prepare them for apprenticeship opportunities in manufacturing.

Dr. Tod A. Burnett, president of Saddleback College, stated, “The pre-apprenticeship program is part of our continued emphasis in developing workforce partnerships to create a new generation of workers. This unique program will greatly benefit students who seek apprenticeship opportunities while also helping local business benefit from high-quality and highly-trained workers. ”

Anthony Teng, dean of advanced technology and applied science, stated, “In today’s job market, where employers are looking for experienced, trained workers, apprenticeships provide the necessary real world experience that prepare tomorrow’s workers.”

M-PAC will identify potential participants such as non-traditional students, the unemployed and underemployed, economically disadvantaged, veterans, foster youth, and others. Outreach efforts will be a collaborative effort with K-12 districts, Regional Occupation Programs, the Orange County Workforce Investment Board, and social service agencies.

Mark McElroy Selected National Coach of the Year


Pictured from left to right: Kerry Crabb (asst. coach), Mark McElroy (head coach), Tony Lipold (Athletic Director), and Steve Crapo (asst. coach).

Saddleback Head Coach Mark McElroy has been named the 2015 American Community College Football Coaches Association (ACCFCA) Coach of the Year. The award was presented to McElroy at the American Football Coaches Association Coach of the Year Dinner on January 12 at the 2016 AFCA Convention in San Antonio, Texas.

“I am completely honored and humbled by this Coach of the Year Award and accept it on behalf of my coaching staff and the Gauchos of 2015 for, without their focused purpose, passion and perseverance, I would not have been chosen for this award,” McElroy said.

Dr. Tod A. Burnett, president of Saddleback College, stated, “Coach McElroy epitomizes what it means to be a great coach. His commitment to his student-athletes and their academic performance is second to none, and his athletic coaching skills are evidenced by the performance of our football teams year after year. Congratulations to Coach McElroy for this well-deserved recognition.”

McElroy recently completed his 17th season as the head coach at Saddleback College and led the Gauchos to a 10-3 overall record and an appearance in the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) Football State Championship game. The Gauchos reeled off 10 straight wins after starting the season 0-2, capturing the National Division Southern League title and beating Long Beach City College to win the Southern California Football Association (SCFA) championship, which earned the Gauchos a trip to the CCCAA State Championship game. Saddleback fell to the City College of San Francisco in the CCCAA State Championship game, 26-14.

“Coach McElroy is most deserving of the AFCA Community College Coach of the Year award for 2015,” Athletic Director Tony Lipold said. “His won/loss record, his football knowledge, and the success of this year’s team all contributed to his nomination and selection. But what is most important in the equation is his leadership and his commitment to his players, and in developing student-athletes both in the classroom and on the field that we can all be proud of.”

McElroy has an overall record of 125-63 and has led Saddleback to four conference titles. The Gauchos also advanced into post-season play for an SCFA record 13 straight seasons (2001-13), and 14 out of the last 15 years. McElroy has been named CCCAA Regional Coach of the Year three times (2004, 2006, 2015) and conference Coach of the Year four times.

Saddleback finished the season ranked No. 2 in the state by JC Athletic Bureau and No. 5 in the nation by Sophomore quarterback Johnny Stanton was named by the JC Athletic Bureau to the first-team All-America list and the state’s Offensive Player of the Year. Sophomore safety Marcus Meredith was named first-team All-America on defense. The pair was joined by wide receiver Dominic Collins, center Markus Boyer, and offensive lineman Jake Nelson on the all-state list. McElroy was also named as the region’s Coach of the Year.

One Book, One College Debuts this Semester


Faculty gather to hear how to incorporate the One Book, One College selection “Fives and Twenty-Fives,” into their curriculum.

The One Book, One College selection, Fives and Twenty-Fives, will debut this semester and faculty gathered this week to learn how their colleagues will be incorporating the book into their curriculum. Instructor, Erin O’Shea, shared ways she was using themes in the book to create projects in her Art (Design) courses.

This is the first year that Saddleback College is participating in One Book, One College. The spring 2016 selection Fives and Twenty-Fives, by former Marine Michael Pitre provides a unique and provocative perspective on war, one that explores its impact on those who fight, how the U.S. treats its veterans when they return home, our lack of sensitivity to invaded citizenry, and the futility of the Iraq War in particular.

Events and activities planned for the semester include Red Chair Tuesdays, Movie Wednesdays, Theme Thursdays, and Book Club Friday. In April, the author will visit the campus for a talk and potential classroom visits.

For more information, visit the One Book, One College website.

Sue and Bill Gross Establish $1 Million Endowment to Benefit Saddleback College Students


Saddleback College is pleased to announce that Sue and Bill Gross, of Laguna Beach, have established a $1 million endowment to provide scholarships to students in career technical education programs that lead directly to jobs in skilled occupations with a strong employment outlook. The Sue and Bill Gross Scholars Endowment will support students in programs that can be completed in two years or less that lead to jobs that pay a living wage in Orange County.

The scholarships provide much-needed funding to help students pay for their college education, but also address the profound increase in available jobs that require education or training beyond high school, but often less than a bachelor’s degree.

The generous endowment follows the Gross Scholars Program established in 2014, which has provided $500,000 in scholarships for students in the “forgotten middle” – students who have an unmet financial need yet are ineligible for a full Pell Grant or other government assistance to pay for college – who successfully complete education and career training at Saddleback College and secure skilled jobs.

“Investing in Saddleback students is an investment in our regional economy,” said Sue Gross, Gross Family Foundation President. “These scholarships will provide financial support to students who are investing in their futures, giving them the ability to focus on their career training without worrying about how they are going to pay for their studies.”

Dr. Tod A. Burnett, president of Saddleback College, stated, “Sue and Bill Gross must be commended for taking this bold step for students in the ‘forgotten middle,’ and for recognizing the contributions of community colleges as a vehicle for economic growth. We at Saddleback greatly appreciate their continued generosity and are delighted that their financial support will give students the ability to train for rewarding jobs with competitive salaries.”

Scholarships will be available to current Saddleback students who are veterans, displaced workers, or other adult learners who possess a high school diploma or general education development credential and are currently enrolled in a CTE program. High school seniors with a 2.5 or better grade point average will also be eligible if they have completed at least one course in a defined career pathway through a Regional Occupational Program, a CTE program at Saddleback College, or a local high school academy. Scholarship recipients will be required to maintain a 2.5 or better GPA.

Nazly Reyes, a Gross Scholars Program recipient and Saddleback nursing program graduate, said, “Thank you, Gross Family! With your kindness I was able to achieve my Associate in Science degree in nursing with a 4.0 grade point average. I am happy to report that I am currently employed at Fountain Valley Hospital as a Registered Nurse in labor and delivery. Dreams do come true!”

For information on the Gross Family Foundation, please contact Mark Porterfield at

The Saddleback College Foundation initiates and coordinates college and community fundraising in support of Saddleback College and its students. By raising funds for scholarships and other programs, which directly benefit students, the foundation is committed to increasing student success and the enhancing the excellent education offered by Saddleback College. Guided by a group of dedicated community leaders, the foundation strives to make higher education attainable for all in south Orange County. For more information, please visit


Saddleback College, Orange County Department of Education Host Inaugural OC Career Pathways Showcase

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The inaugural OC Pathways Showcase was held yesterday at the Orange County Great Park to celebrate the first year of OC Pathways, a grant program initiated in 2014 by the California Department of Education that connects educators and industry leaders to equip students for college and career success. Led by Saddleback College and the Orange County Department of Education, OC Pathways comprises 14 school districts, nine community colleges, multiple universities, numerous regional agencies, and scores of industry and community partners working together to prepare Orange County students for high-demand, high-skill, and high-wage careers.

The OC Pathways Showcase, entitled “Equipping Students for the Global Innovation Economy,” highlighted college and high school students who have held internships in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields made possible by the grant. Leah Jamison, a Saddleback student in the U.S. Department of Education-funded Bridge to Engineering program, participated in a student panel moderated by Dr. Tod A. Burnett, Saddleback College President, and Dr. Al Mijares, Orange County Superintendent of Schools. The keynote speaker was Leland Melvin, a NASA Astronaut and former NFL football player, who shared his life experiences, noting that perseverance, especially after learning from failure, contributed to his career success.

In his opening comments, Dr. Burnett welcomed Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell of (District 70) and Assemblymember Matthew Harper (District 74), as well as numerous community college trustees, school board members, and local officials. Dr. Burnett stated, “We are creating a county-wide infrastructure to ensure that all pathways programs are aligned and meeting the workforce needs of business and industry. We are developing strong connections within our region to ensure that students and educators gain first-hand industry experience through multiple forms of work-based learning. ” Dr. Mijares said, “I believe that we can attribute our initial accomplishments, and the great accomplishments ahead, to the unparalleled levels of collaboration between Orange County secondary and post-secondary partners that have been forged by OC pathways.”

OC Pathways accomplishments for 2015 include:

· More than 8,600 high school students participated in OC Pathways programs across three industry sectors (health care/biotechnology, engineering/advanced manufacturing, and information technology/digital media

· Of the 108 high school pathway programs receiving OC Pathways funding, 48 – or 44 percent – are newly established. Of those, 29 are in the high-growth field of information communications technology

· More than 12,500 community college students were enrolled in OC Pathways industry sectors during the project’s first year, earning more than 600 certificates and 85 degrees

· Of the 38 community college programs receiving OC Pathways funding, half are newly created. Seven of the new pathways are in the digital media arts industry sector

· More than 2,500 high school students participated in one or more work-based learning experiences associated with OC Pathways

· In year one, articulation agreements allowing high school students to receive community college credit for taking career technical education courses through OC Pathways programs increased by 13 percent

The OC Pathways Showcase was sponsored by Saddleback College, Orange County Department of Education, United Way, OC Stem Initiative, Orange County Workforce Investment Board, and Growth Sector. For more information on OC Pathways and a list of partners, visit (link is external).

Showing Solidarity & Support for Paris

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Dear Saddleback College Family,

To show our solidarity and support for the French people after the horrific terrorist attacks that occurred on Friday, Saddleback College will be flying our American flags at half-staff this week. Additionally, the McKinney Theatre will be lit up in the colors of the French flag tonight beginning at 4:30 pm. Thank you to Tim Swiss, fine arts lighting and sound designer, for making this happen.

The attacks on innocent people in Paris were an attack on all of us. It was terrible enough to watch the news unfold this weekend, but it was especially heartbreaking to learn that a 23-year-old CSU Long Beach study abroad student, Nohemi Gonzalez, was killed in the attacks. We offer our condolences to Nohemi’s family and friends and the CSU Long Beach community for their loss.

We in the field of higher education idealize culture, arts, science, and humanities, which are at the very heart of the Parisian way of life. We also know that no terrorist can take away our humanity’s pursuit of knowledge that comes in a free society.

Aujourd’hui, nous sommes tous Parisiens. Or, in English: Today, we are all Parisians.


Tod A. Burnett, Ed.D.

South County Veterans Summit Held at Saddleback College

Panelists, Marco Williams, Bobby McDonald, Karen Williams and Terence Nelson speak on Veteran resources in Orange County.

Panelists, Marco Williams, Bobby McDonald, Karen Williams and Terence Nelson speak on Veteran resources in Orange County.

On Friday, November 6, Saddleback College had the pleasure of joining OC Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, OC Community Services, 2-1-1 Orange County and the OC Veteran Advisory Council to host the 2015 South County Veterans Summit.

The summit dubbed “Connect & Succeed” featured a variety of resources and information for local veterans including a presentation about the South County Veterans Research Study; VA benefits overview; veterans resource fair; and breakout sessions.

Lariat and Journalism Department Host Open House

Dean of Liberal Arts Kevin O’Connor, College President Tod Burnett, Journalism Department Chair Tim Posada and Dean of Learning Resources Marina Aminy.

Dean of Liberal Arts Kevin O’Connor, College President Tod Burnett, Journalism Department Chair, Tim Posada, and Dean of Learning Resources Marina Aminy.

On Tuesday, November 3, I had the pleasure of attending the Lariat/Journalism Department Open House in the journalism lab. I had a chance to catch up with Tim Posada the department chair and his fellow Journalism instructors. The Open House was a wonderful opportunity for our students to become familiar with the Lariat newspaper and the journalism department. I want to congratulate the Lariat and the Journalism Department for hosting a terrific event and thank them for sharing their department with the Saddleback College community.

Dr. Tod A. Burnett, President