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Staff photo by Eunice Lee
Barstow Community College students in Christie Firtha's freshman composition class like Meagan Murray, center, will be among the students now able to access a broader range of online classes related to green energy technology through Ashford University.

BCC enters into agreement to expand 'green job' training options

BARSTOW • Barstow Community College has signed an enrollment agreement with an online university in a move to prepare Barstow students for future jobs in renewable energy in the High Desert.

The college signed on with San Diego-based Bridgepoint Education to allow BCC students to transfer up to 90 credits to Bridgepoint’s online programs through Ashford University. While BCC has signed similar agreements with schools ranging from Park University to California State University — San Bernardino, the arrangement with Bridgepoint will give Barstow students more access to online courses relating to green technology, according to BCC spokeswoman Maureen Stokes.

BCC officials have often spoken of gearing up the Barstow-area workforce for green technology jobs.
“We’re in the process of developing programs,” said Ken Eaves, director of vocational programs at BCC. “We’re also working on partnerships for programs we can’t provide.” While BCC has courses in electrical work — which Eaves notes is the foundation of renewable energy jobs — he said that online programs like Ashford, which offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees, will open students to take more advanced courses in engineering, hydraulics and other high-tech applications.

Eaves said that the Bureau of Land Management alone has about 15 energy projects slated for the High Desert.

“There’s a lot of things that are going to be going on in green technology soon,” he said. “We’re trying to get people prepared for the workforce that will be needed.”

The online classes will allow students, particularly older adults who may already have a job and care for a family, to get a four-year degree without having to travel to another school, according to Apineru Lealofi, a BCC counselor who helped arrange the agreement between BCC and Bridgepoint. “They’re not traditional students. They have other priorities,” Lealofi said.

BCC students now have access to over 1,150 online courses through Bridgepoint, according to spokeswoman Marianne Perez. Perez said she was unable to specify exactly how many of the classes related to green technology.

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