Grants Awarded to Saddleback College Will Enhance STEM and Behavioral Health Programs, and Student Civic Engagement

Mission Viejo, CA – Saddleback College was recently named a recipient of two federal grants: One that will enhance science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, and one that will promote behavioral health programming, and was also awarded a state grant to promote civic engagement among community college students.

Dr. Tod A. Burnett, president of Saddleback College stated, “I am extremely proud that we were selected to receive these grants, which are a testament to our stellar STEM programs, outstanding behavioral health pipeline, and inspiring students who are motivating others to exercise their right to vote.”

The National Science Foundation (NSF) issued its first-ever awards for the NSF INCLUDES program, a comprehensive initiative to enhance U.S. leadership in science and engineering by improving access and broadening participation of underserved populations in the STEM fields. The $299,981 grant will expand Saddleback’s existing STEM Core Initiative – which provides intensive support to remedial math students and partners with employers to provide project-based internships – to 13 additional California community colleges and a community college district in the state of Maryland, directly serving more than 500 students.

Dr. Jim Zoval, professor of chemistry at Saddleback College, said, “This grant will allow Saddleback and other California community colleges to provide several excellent opportunities to student participants, including the facilitation of a very special social learning environment. I have seen this type of program make a big difference in the lives of Saddleback students in a previous grant program that focuses on engineering majors. This new grant will allow us to expand participant eligibly beyond engineering majors to also include students in science, math, and technology fields of study.

Saddleback College also received a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training (BHWET) program to enhance and expand the college’s behavioral health paraprofessional pipeline, which includes career pathways for students pursuing degrees and certificates in alcohol and drug studies, community-based corrections, human services generalist, and mental health worker. The $211,271 grant will be allocated to 90 students to cover the costs of tuition, fees, and supplies, resulting in substantial assistance to students in these fields.

Human services department chair and professor Kim Branch-Stewart, LCSW said , “Saddleback College’s human services department is honored to be selected as one of 34 new recipients nationwide of the BHWET grant, which will focus on training behavioral health workers in intervention, assessment, and treatment with children, at-risk youth, transitional age youth, and their families. The grant will permit the human services programs to expand and reach out to underserved and non-traditional student populations, including students with ‘lived’ mental health experience, to provide educational and career opportunities that might otherwise not be accessible to this student population.

Lastly, the Saddleback College Associated Student Government (ASG) was among 25 campuses in California selected to receive a grant from the California Community Colleges Civic Impact Project to increase civic participation among community college students. The $10,000 grant will allow ASG to deploy their campus action plan to inform and engage students on campus in the democratic process and increase student participation in the upcoming November election.

Lucy Hendrix, ASG president shared, “Saddleback College recently participated in a national study that showed us our aggregate student voting data. While the figures were similar to other colleges in the areas, they were nothing to be excited about. This semester, Saddleback’s ASG has focused on various ways to engage student voting through both registration and education. By receiving the Civic Impact Project grant, we will be able to fully fund all of our planned projects, as well as support new ideas.”

Located in Mission Viejo, Saddleback College provides dynamic, innovative, and student-centered postsecondary education and training to the greater south Orange County community. Having served more than 665,000 students since 1968, Saddleback College offers more than 300 renowned degree, certificate, transfer, and lifelong learning programs to help students succeed in reaching their personal and career goals. 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.

President Burnett Meets with Officials in Washington, DC

From October 24th through 26th, President Burnett visited with several elected officials and representatives in Washington, DC to discuss community colleges, funding, and collaboration. Across the board, representatives agreed that community colleges are underutilized and are the key to economic and workforce preparation.

During the visit, Dr. Burnett was able to educate several key officials about Saddleback’s Center for Innovation and Healthcare Education to be housed at ATEP and provided general information about Saddleback, the district, and its current fiscal situation. The Center for Innovation and Healthcare Education will establish an innovative healthcare simulation center for training and skill maintenance of allied health workers throughout the area.

On October 24th, Dr. Burnett met with several representatives from the National Science Foundation, including Karen Tiplady, director of the division of grants and agreements.  The representatives provided excellent feedback and guidance about an NSF-funded ATEP grant. Burnett then had coffee with Congressman John Campbell’s Chief of Staff, Muffy Day, and lunch with Congressman Dana Rohrabacher’s Legislative Director, Jeff Vanderslice, and provided an update about the Center for Innovation and Healthcare Education, the New Market Tax Credit, and Saddleback’s Emeritus Institute. Dr. Burnett also had the opportunity to thank Congressman Rohrabacher for his assistance on the NSF grant. Later in the day, Burnett met with the Department of Education’s Senior Policy Advisor Hal Plotkin, who provided information about the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) Grant Program, which has awarded $1 billion to community colleges. Plotkin provided guidance about what type of awards Saddleback should pursue and best practices for applications. The two also discussed Saddleback’s allied health programs, plans for ATEP, and the need for basic skills education and improving student preparedness. Dr. Burnett’s final meeting of the day was with two representatives from the Department of Labor and discussed making community college the first choice for all students, career training, and upcoming grant programs. Dr. Burnett ended the night at the 2012 ATE Principal Investigators Conference as a guest of the NSF.

Meetings continued on October 25th, when Dr. Burnett met with Congressman Darrel Issa’s Legislative Assistant, Ellen Dargie, who confirmed that the Center for Innovation and Healthcare Education fits perfectly with the goal of the New Market Tax Credits. Next, he met with two representatives from Governor Jerry Brown’s office and provided an overview of the district, college, and ATEP development. Deputy Director Katie Wheeler Mathews was impressed with the program and invited Dr. Burnett to provide more information to the Governor’s senior staff in Sacramento. Mathews also provided a list of several people who would be interested in hearing about the project.

Dr. Burnett later met with representatives for Congressman Gary Miller, the House Committee on Education and Workforce, and the Committee on House Administration, and provided an overview of Saddleback, basic aid funding, and the Center for Innovation and Healthcare Education. That afternoon, Dr. Burnett met with Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Majority Professional Staff Thomas Showalter and discussed topics related to workforce investment boards and one stop centers, including job collaboration, job training, and the ways community colleges can be better utilized. Dr. Burnett finished the day by meeting with a representative from Senator Barbara Boxer’s office and then with a representative from Senator Diane Feinstein’s office. Burnett provided both with an overview of the college, the ATEP development, New Market Credits, and career and technical education. Senator Boxer’s representative was particularly interested in the work that Saddleback is doing with student veterans.

In his last day of meetings, Dr. Burnett met with representatives from the Department of Education’s Office of Vocational and Adult Education, who presented their Blueprint to Transform Career and Technical Education, which was created after collecting feedback about what is and is not working with Perkins funding. In turn, Dr. Burnett provided an overview of the college and its Perkins programs and provided several suggestions to streamline funding. The group also discussed the Center for Innovation and Healthcare Education, remedial education, and the college’s high school partnership program.

Finally, Dr. Burnett met with three representatives from the Department of Health and Human Services, who provided an overview about the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the health information technology curriculum projects that were developed through the program. Dr. Burnett provided the group information about the nursing and health information technology programs and the challenges those career fields are facing. The Deputy National Coordinator for Programs and Policy, Judy Murphy, provided Dr. Burnett suggestions about additional ways to secure funding for ATEP development.

In each of the meetings, officials and representatives stressed that collaborations and consortiums with local community colleges, four year universities, K-12 schools, and business is vital to securing grants and other outside funding sources. This feedback supports the steps the college is currently taking to reach out to local schools and industry leaders to create new, innovative programs and improve career training and student completions.

Pell Grants to be Deposited Five Weeks Earlier than Expected

The Financial Aid Office (left to right): Claire Tracey, Javier Williams, Andrea McGinley, Lynn Martin, Dennis Stachelski, Tina Dang, Ruth Higgins, Quyen Dang, Pheolin Truong, Chris Alvarado

Thanks to the hard work of Saddleback’s Financial Aid Office, students will receive their Pell Grant money on January 12th,  five weeks earlier than expected. Slightly more than 2.2 million dollars will be disbursed to 2,050 students.

One of the main roadblocks to higher education tends to be financial challenges, moving this date up will undoubtedly lessen the burden for many students. Last year, Pell Grants were deposited on February 4th.

Additionally, the Saddleback College Scholarship application will go live on Monday, January 16 and will be an upgraded system with online requests and submissions.

To find out more about the many financial aid options offered at Saddleback, visit