Copper Mountain College’s TEP Program and Workforce Development Center to Close

    July 19, 2010


    Copper Mountain College’s TEP Program and Workforce Development Center to Close


    The California state budget crisis has imposed a significant impact on Copper Mountain College’s (CMC) budget; as a result, their Workforce Development Center is scheduled to close Friday, August 20th and the Transfer Empowerment Program will end in September. Over the past 10 years, under an agreement with San Bernardino County, CMC has operated the Workforce Development Center as a satellite one-stop, which has continuously provided career counseling, transfer information, California Department of Rehabilitation training, job preparation and placement, and service to job seekers and employers.




    Among the three full-service one-stop centers located in Hesperia, Rancho Cucamonga, and San Bernardino and two other satellite one-stop centers at Hesperia Unified School District and San Bernardino College, the CMC Workforce Center has been the only center to operate without county funding at a cost to the College of $35,000 a year.  Along the same line, an internal audit of other programs revealed that the GED testing service is costing the college over $11,000 a year.  As a result, this service will have to be discontinued.  The discontinuance of the testing service will not impact the College’s GED preparation program.




    According to Greg Brown, Vice President of Student Services, “Student Services is currently examining just how we might continue to serve our students and community members with existing resources.” He added, “We are looking at just where and how we can make computers available for job seekers.”




    “We have been the only unfunded center in the county,” noted Superintendent/President, Roger Wagner.  “As a result, we are no longer able to run this in a business-as-usual format.  “We hate to see any service we provide to our students and members of the community stop. Unfortunately, we are no longer in a position to provide these services without funding.”


    Additionally, CMC lost some of their federal grants at the beginning of 2010.The College’s Transfer Empowerment Program (TEP) has for many years been a flagship program offering personalized assistance to students who were looking to transfer to the university system.  The federal funds to support TEP program will be gone at the end of September along with the program itself.  To continue the TEP program, without federal help, would deepen CMC’s deficit budget and make the college non-compliant with laws that require the college to spend 50 percent of the budget on classroom instruction.


    Along with many public institutions, CMC’s operating budget has suffered greatly as a result of the California State budget crisis; even so, CMC administrators are desperately trying to provide students the same courses and services that have been continually offered to them over the years. “But this has become increasingly more difficult,” said Wagner.


    In 2009, the state rolled back CMC’s Full Time Equivalent Student (FTES) enrollment cap by 150 students.  The FTES is how CMC receives its funding from the state.  The rollback, along with a 2.2% increase in CMC’s enrollments last year, means CMC will have provided $750,000 of classes and services to students without compensation during the past year.




    As the budget crisis continues to bear down on community college funding, CMC’s current budget will take the college’s reserves below 10 percent.  This is less than 30 days of operational funds. “In spite of this, we are among the few colleges in the desert region to offer a summer session, something we may not be able to do in future years” noted Wagner.  “In the meantime, we are continuing to work on our personnel and staffing changes that have transpired as a result of the loss of grants.




    In addition to the current budget challenges, summer enrollments are up from last year and six percent of the summer enrollees are from the lower desert.  This was not a surprise to Wagner and other CMC administrators because College of the Desert did not run a summer session this year. “This would be great news if we were getting growth money and if these students stayed with us after summer,” noted Wagner. “As it stands, this situation only costs us money – another budget issue that we will have to address.”




    On the bright side, CMC is working on other projects that will save the college money in the long run. One of those projects includes the parking area solar panels that were recently activated.  This proactive addition will generate nearly 50 percent of CMC’s energy needs, not including the Bell Center. In the meantime, Joe Olson, Vice President for Economic, Military, and Community Relations, along with Facilities Director Dan Cain, continue to look for partnerships, funding, and other venues to finance additional solar projects on campus.




    Wagner concluded with, “No one more than I hates to see services cut, but I hold a responsibility for the long-term viability of the college’s finances, and we must begin to be proactive rather than reactive in response to the state’s budget crisis and our own budget issues.”