OCEANSIDE — MiraCosta College received half a million dollars to develop its HVAC and electrician certification programs as part of a nationwide effort to invest in skilled trades training.
Earlier this year, the Lowe’s Foundation committed to closing the skilled trades workforce gap by providing nearly $8 million through its Gable Grants program to community and technical colleges across the United States for developing skilled trades workforce programs.
The grants are the first in a five-year, $50 million commitment to help prepare 50,000 people for skilled trades careers in appliance repair, carpentry, construction, electrical, HVAC, and plumbing.
MiraCosta College was chosen among more than 200 applicants, according to Lowe’s Foundation, because of how the college provides equitable access to first-generation college and disproportionately impacted students through tuition reductions, transportation, and childcare subsidies, among other student support offerings.
“Many of our students are adult learners who also have financial responsibilities and family needs, so we help these students to decrease the barriers of receiving an education,” said Kristen Huyck, director of marketing and communications for MiraCosta College.
MiraCosta College partners with TOOTRiS, a childcare platform, to provide students access to a large network of childcare providers.
Through its Technical Career Institute (TCI), located in Carlsbad, the college also provides paid internships using a $3.5 million grant from the state.
Carisa Chavez, special programs coordinator at TCI, explained how the college identifies students with barriers to provide them partial or full scholarships while also using grants to lower tuition.
“We had about $100,000 in scholarships,” Chavez said. “Probably 90% of our students don’t pay full tuition.”
The money, approximately $500,000, will be used to develop the college’s HVAC and electrician certification programs. TCI will house the new programs along with its already existing biomedical equipment, craft brewing, drone pilot, healthcare, manufacturing, welding and several other technician programs.
According to Huyck, the college identified a regional need for HVAC and electrician certification programs.
“There’s a shortfall in qualified electricians and HVAC,” Huyck said.
Janice Dupré, Lowe’s executive vice president of human resources and chair of the Lowe’s Foundation, said MiraCosta College is a “deserving program that is driving transformation in the skilled trades workforce by investing in programs that will prepare students for these sustainable and inclusive career pathways.”
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story stated the Lowe’s Foundation granted MiraCosta College nearly $1 million, or exactly $993,284, for the HVAC and electrician certification programs. Those numbers were provided incorrectly to The Coast News. The actual figure is $500,000.