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Practices with Promise Success Story

Submitted By: David Castillo, West Hills College Consortium

Consortium members combine resources to better serve adult learners

The Challenge

The West Hills College Consortium represents an area of 182 square miles and more than 70 miles from end to end. This large region’s population centers are made up of small, rural communities with very limited resources and a population that commonly has low educational attainment. Approximately, 33 percent of the region’s adults do not possess a high school diploma or its equivalent, and 25 percent speak limited English. The consortium’s biggest challenge was figuring out how, with limited resources, to provide the level of programming needed to serve the region’s adult learners and put them on a path to fulfilling personal, educational and career goals.

The Solution

The consortium recognized that every entity has inherent strengths and offers resources that can contribute to an overall effort. To address the challenge, the consortium expanded its partnerships and then worked together to strategically combine its available resources. The consortium was able to identify approaches toward achieving program integration, assessing students’ needs and improving student outcomes by combining available student support services, leading to increased student success.

The West Hills Community College District (WHCCD) utilized available grant funding alongside the available AEBG funds and offered “mixed-use-funded programs.” This allowed the combining of programs, thereby streamlining expenses to help control cost while offering expanded and enhanced programs. WHCCD also assisted students with transportation costs by providing some transportation services to West Hills College students.

Firebaugh-Las Deltas Unified School District, as well as Armona Unified, invested time and funding to support testing centers that provide high school equivalency/GED testing. Similarly, WHCCD invested outside funds to provide multiple Hi-SET/high school equivalency testing in various communities throughout the district. These leveraged resources are great assets to each community and the adult education programs.

Lastly, ongoing collaborations with local Workforce One-Stop Career Centers, Department of Social Services, Economic Development Corporation, local employers and many others help to combine efforts and co-enroll students, when possible, to provide added support services that can make a substantial difference for the participating students.


Combining available resources while aligning efforts enhanced both student experience and overall success rates. The transportation assistance resulted in additional students enrolled in college, and many more who would not have previously considered going to college now planning to enroll. The mixed-use funding with Westside Institute of Technology allowed AEBG programs to cut costs by paying only for the instruction portion of courses, such as Residential Electrical, while outside funds paid for supplies, materials and equipment. This will be duplicated with HVAC courses and potentially expand to other areas. Lastly, having multiple communities offers high school equivalency testing communicates to members of that community that they are of importance and that they have the support of their local schools.

The Data

Data currently is being accumulated for reporting.

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