Hi all –
Here is an update on the closure of Chaffey College’s Learning Development Center (LDC) vocational program.
First, let me tell you that your emails, phone calls and showing up at board meetings is making a difference. A few days ago, I spoke with Dr. Eric Bishop (the vice president of Student Services at Chaffey College) and his staff and they said that the closure of LDC is now “not a done deal”. They have done more research about the needs of the community and the available resources, plus they have been getting input from the community (that is you). They are open to considering the idea of continuing a vocational program. That is a good start.
What they really need is input from students (they listen to them more than they listen to parents), parents, local schools, state agencies (like your IRC or DOR representative) and other community members. You/your child does not need to currently be a student at Chaffey – they need input from incoming students, too. Chaffey College needs to know:
— what your (or your child/client/student’s) vocational plans are.
— why you need Chaffey College to provide vocational training.
— whether you have other available vocational resources or not.
— what you and our community needs in a program.
— the benefits past students have gotten from LDC, for instance: gotten a job, increased independence, used it as a stepping stone to take academic classes – whatever benefits you have seen. We want Chaffey to know that the success of LDC cannot be fully measured by how many students get a job directly after completing the program.
Be as specific and heartfelt as you can. Be polite. Let me say that again. Be polite. Passionate is okay, but rude and insulting messages do not get read and honestly, just make our job harder.
Colleges give more weight to student input than they do parent input. So get your child/student/client to give input, too. Ask other people to contact Chaffey also, for instance, your K-12 school, your Regional Center representative, business leaders who are open to the idea of hiring people with disabilities who have job skills – anybody you know who has an interest in the matter.
Ways you can give your input and be sure that it will get to the governing board of Chaffey College are:
— Write a letter to the president of the college. Mail letters to: Dr. Henry Shannon, Chaffey College President, 5885 Haven Avenue, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91737.
— Email Dr. Shannon’s office at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please be polite. Kathy has worked hard to help us.
— Call Dr. Eric Bishop, the vice president of Student Services at Chaffey College: (909) 652-6502.
— Show up at the board meeting. The meeting is on Thursday, December 15, at 2:00 pm, at Chaffey College, in the Administration building (SAS). When you get there, forms will be provided for you to write down the topic you are interested in discussing (the closure of LDC). During public comment time, you will be given 3 minutes to talk. I believe there are two times public comments will be allowed – one is for items on the agenda and one is for whatever you want to talk about. I am not sure about that, so feel free to ask when you get there. The meeting starts at 2:00 pm, but they will talk about a lot of other things and perhaps go into closed session for a while before it is time for public input.
I know you all are busy people, but this really is important. Within the next five years, in our local area we will have hundreds of people with disabilities looking for work. For many of them, Chaffey college is the only source of the job training they need to get off SSI (if they even qualify for SSI) and to become independent. Please, please take a few minutes to contact the college and tell them what you need.
And ask your mom to write a note to the college, too. Tell her to let them know that they need to provide classes so her grandbaby can get a job. As we all know, grandmothers are an unstoppable force of nature, so let’s turn them loose!