If it's happening in "The County", it's probably here.
Friday, August 14, 2020
Amador CollegeConnect: The Latest News
August 2020 Newsletter
Message From Our Director:
Hello, My name is Rachelle Saldate and I am the executive director of Amador Community College Foundation and Amador College Connect. I have worked with this organization for three years, previously as the center coordinator. My short-term goals for Amador College Connect are to help staff and students stay safe during the current pandemic. Additionally, I want to make sure that our students receive the support and help they need to remain successful as we operate under limited conditions. This includes emailing and calling our students to check-in, utilizing phone or zoom appointments when necessary, and offering contactless disbursement of materials.
FALL CLASSES AT ACC
Due to COVID-19 requirements, there will be no onsite Columbia College classes at ACC this fall. The four scheduled classes are available through synchronous streaming to each individual enrolled student to view at home.
Jessica Cobb is a mother of four children, ages 9, 8, 5, and 2, who is beginning her internship at Sierra Wind this summer. She will be leading a support group for new and expectant mothers. This will lead to permanent full-time employment for her. When asked about her experiences with the program, Jessica says that she absolutely loves it. She relates one hundred percent to the subject areas and has found new ways to understand family members who are challenged with addiction and mental illness. Jessica did not know anything about the MHSA program when she just “walked in the office” one day. But a skillful interview by our staff revealed that she would most likely qualify for the program.
MHSA students must meet income requirements, live in Amador County, and, ideally have had personal experience with social or behavioral issues. Jessica has completed the program in almost record time, taking two or three classes at a time. She is now pursuing her AA degree in Human Services and hopes to eventually obtain her Bachelor’s degree. For a student who began with an unfocused desire for school, Jessica has sharply honed her skills and career. We expect her to be a professional asset to the mental health community in Amador County for many years to come.
Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) Program at Coastline College
ACC has administered funds provided by Amador County’s Behavioral Health Department to offer eligible individuals financial support to pursue careers in public mental health. The program has been in place for five years.To date, over 30 students have participated in the program. The final semester involves students taking a Practicum class as they work in a paid full-time internship.
Board Member Highlight:
Paul Molinelli, Jr. has been on the board of Amador College Connect for 17 years and has been the chair for three years. He is a partner, Vice President, and Chief Operating Office for ACES Waste Services, and is well known for his leadership in the Amador community. Paul is married with four grown sons, three of whom work at Aces.
His dedication to ACC is based on his passion to create educational opportunities within the county in order to promote economic vitality and job creation. As a businessman, he has often found it difficult to recruit trained and talented workers. “Of course, it would be great to have our own community college right here, but, until that day comes, ACC offers the kind of help local people need to begin or continue their college education. I am extremely grateful for our partner organizations who provide support and grants, and I would also love to see us have sustainable funding in recognition of all the assistance we provide students.
Brenda Walker has helped ACC students through math tutoring for over three years. “Before that I was a cheerleader from afar because I really liked what you were doing at ACC.” She taught seventh grade math for 25 years, 20 of them in Amador County. “I have known three generations in some families, and I frequently meet my students around town.” When asked why math is so hard for so many students, Brenda’s opinion is that, early on, students get an I can’t do it attitude that is hard to overcome. When she taught in the classroom, Brenda allowed students who missed problems on homework to have a “redo” where they would learn how to do the problem correctly and raise their grade. This typifies the encouragement she offers ACC students, some of whom are returning to math after several years out of school. She is currently tutoring through Zoom and has been helped to do this successfully by one of our skilled students. “It’s like I am sitting right next to her,” Brenda observes. “I didn’t think this would be possible for remote tutoring, but it is.”
Brenda has raised three children and has six grandchildren. She is very busy helping her four granddaughters learn math at home by providing information packets for each of them every week. A busy lady, but not too busy to help.
ACC always needs skilled and dedicated tutors. If you are interested in becoming one, please call the office or contact Janice Davis at Janice@amadorcollegeconnect.org
Michael (Paco) Garcia
Culinary Apprentice – Michael (Paco) Garcia
Michael Garcia has been in the Culinary Apprentice program for just over two years, and he will become certified in Food Service Management at the end of this semester. The program is a joint venture among Amador College Connect, the Jackson Rancheria, and Columbia College. Michael has been cooking for ten years, eight of them at Casino restaurants. “I would work there until retirement if possible. They gave me a second chance after my checkered performance in high school and set me on a career path. Where else do you have a great job and they say, ‘We’ll pay for you to go to college’? I’m also grateful to Amador College Connect for their support and assistance. After certification, I plan to continue on to my AA degree.
"Even though I was an experienced cook, the courses I’ve taken through this apprenticeship really showed me how to do things professionally and correctly. My access to teachers, mentors, tools, and equipment has been unparalleled. Personally, my family has also benefited from my learning to cook healthier food──especially my older son who is on the autism spectrum. My wife and I have been together for 13 years, and have two sons, four and two years old. In the apprenticeship program, I have come to see learning as a way to experience and enjoy life, rather than a chore. This has been a great gift."