Over 200 community, industry leaders attend two-day Essential Elements series

From West Hills College
Over 200 community, industry leaders attend two-day Essential Elements series

West Hills Community College District recently hosted the fifth session in its premier public and private policy series, Essential Elements, which gathers leaders from all over the state to discuss issues affecting the San Joaquin Valley.

Over 100 community members and industry leaders attended the two-day event, which focused on topics including job creation, economic development and career and technical education and featured a slate of informative speakers including Karen Ross, Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture and Jim Mayer, President and CEO of California Forward.

“Essential Elements is, at its core, a convergence of business, industry, education, policy makers, and stakeholders who share a passion for the Valley,” said Dr. Frank Gornick, Chancellor of the West Hills Community College District. “It is designed to stimulate actions and alliances and the format is structured to build upon what we learn throughout the day and then hold us accountable tomorrow.”

Over 200 community, industry leaders attend two-day Essential Elements series

Other speakers at the event included Glenda Humiston, Vice President of the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources; Catherine Sandoval of the California Public Utilities Commission; Scott Campbell, Vice President of the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning; and Micheal McIntyre, President and Chief Operating Officer of AcademyOne, Inc.

Panels featuring student speakers, industry experts and Valley innovators were a big part of the event. Panelists included representatives from agriculture and technology companies including Harris Farms, Olam, OnFarm Services and more. Panels also featured Robert Tse, Economic Development Officer for the US Department of Agriculture; Darrin Polhemus of the California Water Resources Control Board and representatives from the University of California system.

Students were a part of the event as well. Current and former West Hills College Coalinga students were part of a panel on training a field-ready workforce and current WHCC student Alex Avalos also gave a presentation on his app, Ag for Hire.

Day two of the session involved the Central Valley Slingshot Consortium Prior Learning Assessment Initiative, an unprecedented joint venture of 13 community colleges, state workforce development programs, schools and universities, labor, and the private sector that encourages job growth and collaboration.

“Global needs require Central Valley responses,” said Dr. Stuart Van Horn, Interim President of West Hills College Coalinga. “This theme was pervasive throughout the event.”

An action outcomes report will be available soon. Visit essentialelementsseries.com to view and download panel and keynote presentations. 

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