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DIVERSE: Issues in Higher Education covers new certificate programs offered through Superior Court partnership

20 May 2019

PCCD, Superior Court of Alameda County Partner for New Certificate Programs
May 16, 2019

by Tiffany Pennamon

When officials from the Superior Court of Alameda County in California began to notice growing vacancies in its courtroom clerk and legal processing assistant (LPA) roles, they believed it would be an ideal situation to look to the area’s community colleges to address gaps in public service employees.

Now, a strategic partnership between the court and the Peralta Community College District (PCCD) – the first of its kind with the support from the local court union – will provide students in the district with an opportunity to earn certifications as LPAs or courtroom clerks. The online structure of the stackable certificates aim to attract learners interested in attaining a job while in school, and also those who are already working in low-wage jobs but looking to earn higher wages and advance their careers, PCCD leaders said.

“The new partnership will make training for legal processing assistant and courtroom clerk positions more accessible to the local community and equip graduates to participate in the workforce and earn a living wage,” said Marie Amboy, strong workforce director for PCCD. “In turn, the court will have access to a more diverse local talent pool with the skills needed to be competitive in today’s marketplace.”

PCCD’s LPA and courtroom clerk certificate programs will be open to students starting this fall – applications will be due by July 31. The programs fall under the district’s Paralegal Studies Program at Merritt College and include a series of courses for students to successfully enter the workforce in a court or legal setting.

Students on the LPA track take Introduction to Law and the Legal Profession, Law Office Management, Legal Research and Seminar in Paralegal Studies Internship. Because the LPA position is a “stepping stone” to a courtroom clerk position, Amboy said, students on the courtroom clerk track take the same courses as LPAs as well as four additional units – the course Intro to Civil Procedure and Litigation Practice.

A one-unit externship or internship component for students to gain work-based learning experience is embedded in the certificate programs.

“We heard this from the Superior Court and from the actual employees that do the job that that piece is oh so critical with their success,” Amboy said. “We wanted to give the students who will be going through this program as much confidence going into the interview in terms of understanding the job as much as possible.”

In the initial stages of the partnership, Amboy and other paralegal program leaders worked with the court to assess its application and hiring process.

“The hiring process for them, because they’re a public entity, has an exam,” she said. “All prospective employees or applicants are required to take an exam first. That sort of whittles the pool down.”

From there, selected applicants move on to an interview phase and then the court creates an eligibility list.

“What we noticed was that the diversity and sheer numbers gets whittled away at the exam piece,” Amboy said. “We in education were well aware of the drawbacks of looking at placement exams or tests of being the only factor to determine placement or completion because we know that there are certain groups that are really at a disadvantage when it comes to test-taking.”

For this reason, PCCD leaders worked with the executive directors and union officials at the court to revise and update its curriculum in the existing paralegal program.

“They actually reviewed our course content and made recommendations, made edits and requested that additional information be updated,” Amboy said, adding, “What we’re really saying is, when [students] complete the certification, they’re actually guaranteeing an interview. The union has actually said that they would give a certificate from Peralta a little bit of a higher weight in terms of points over somebody who is coming in that has passed the exam and has not had a certificate from Peralta.

“That’s part of what makes this sort of unprecedented. There are many partnerships with different public agencies [but] this is the first time the union has sort of left an alternative route to an employment placement test,” Amboy said.

“The Court appreciates being a part of this unprecedented partnership with Peralta,” said Chad Finke, court executive officer at the Superior Court of Alameda County. “We view this as a ‘win-win-win’ situation for our employees, job seekers and, most importantly, the public.”

When establishing the partnership, Amboy said the court acknowledged existing sentiments that they may be “out of touch” with the community.

“Partnering with Peralta, with a community college, really shows that they acknowledge that that may be the message and that they’re looking to shift that message,” she said.

And because Peralta Community College District serves a diverse pool of students, leaders hope that underrepresented groups entering the legal system will have a significant impact.

“What’s particularly important is that this is with the court, so it’s the justice system that many of our students or many of the people in our community might not have the best experience with,” Amboy said. “It sort of opens the doors to saying here’s an opportunity for you to work in the legal system to understand it, and even make inroads and make a difference inside it. People that look like the community now serving in that system, we hope will make positive inroads within the system itself in terms of being able to actively serve the community.”

Tiffany Pennamon can be reached at tpennamon@diverseeducation.com. You can follow her on Twitter @tiffanypennamon.

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Looking to get a head start? Take the Summer Bridge 2019

14 May 2019

June 17 – July 26. Enroll now!

EMT 230 and Counseling 207A are just two great classes happening this summer.
Summer Bridge 2019.

 

Filed under: Careers, Classes, Discover, Miscellaneous, news, Special Program updates. Tagged: , , , , ,

Align your interests to a fulfilling career for FREE with Merritt College’s subscription to Roadmap to Careers!

10 May 2019

Discover how the things you like can connect you to a rewarding career you’ll love. Drawing from Roadtrip Nation’s library of thousands of candid video interviews with professionals from all walks of life, Roadmap to Careers showcases real stories of the struggles and successes you might encounter on your road to a fulfilling career – and equips you with the tools you’ll need to take your first steps to build a livelihood that’s true to who you are.  It’s FREE! so visit:

https://roadtripnation.com/edu/merritt

Getting Started

  • When on the landing page https://roadtripnation.com/edu/merritt, either click “Get started” or simply click “Create Account” in the top right corner.
  • After clicking “Create Account”, you will be directed to an account creation page where they will need to fill out all the required fields.
  • Please create a username which has 6-15 characters, with the exception of special characters; i.e. “firstnamelastname”.
  • For the password, choose your own with at least 8 characters, at least one lowercase letter, at least one uppercase letter, one number, and one special character.
  • For the email address, we recommend you use your @peralta.edu email address.
  • After you create an account, you will be taken directly to a page to fill out your membership status. This is the page where you will input the provided membership code in order to gain full access to Roadtrip’s career exploration tools and leader videos.
  • Please ensure you click “Go!” so the membership code is processed to your account. If you click “Get started” first, the membership code will not be saved.
  • For those students that already have an account and log in go to “Account Settings” in the top right corner, click “Membership”, and add the according membership code.

After successfully setting up an account and logging in, get started using the Interview Archive by:

  • Completing the Roadmap tool to find Leaders connected to your Roads.
  • Clicking on the Theme tab to find out what Leaders think about financial security, success, and many other difficult topics.
  • Using the Leader tab to see whom we’ve talked to throughout the years.
  • Personalizing your experience by finding Leaders based on Interest and Foundation, and 
connect who they are with what they’re exploring.

 

Introducing the Original Roadtrip and Interview Archive

Kick off your journey with the story of the Original Roadtrip:

Roadtrip Nation started when its founders, Nathan, Mike, and Brian, weren’t sure what to do with their lives, so they went on a Roadtrip to learn the stories of Leaders who built lives around their passions. The conversations generated such powerful insights that the original roadtrippers decided to start Roadtrip Nation as a platform to share the stories of people who have defined their own roads.

The Interview Archive is a collection of all the stories Roadtrip Nation has gathered on the road over the years. It contains the stories of people who have pushed through roadblocks to create their livelihoods around their interests—everyone from CEOs of big companies to costume designers, magazine writers, biologists, chocolatiers, and beyond. You will see how successful people made life decisions, and then apply those insights to your own lives as you start to define your own roads.


Recommended Videos

Start off with a diverse mix of Leaders who come from different backgrounds and work in different fields. The following Leaders may resonate well with you:

Zaria Forman
Artist & Climate Change Activist
http://roadtripnation.com/leader/zaria-forman

Father Greg Boyle
Founder / Executive Director Homeboy Industries
http://roadtripnation.com/leader/father-greg-boyle

Jessica Santana
Co-Founder, New York On Tech, New York, NY
http://roadtripnation.com/leader/jessica-santana/interview

John Rodrigues
Ice Sculptor / Author 
High School Dropout to Harvard
http://roadtripnation.com/leader/john-rodrigues

Mansi M. Kasliwal
Assistant Professor of Astronomy & Principal Investigator at GROWTH
California Institute of Technology
, Palomar Observatory, Calif.
http://roadtripnation.com/leader/mansi-m-kasliwal/mansi-m-kasliwal-interview

Evelynn M. Hammonds
Professor, History of Science, African and African American Studies, Harvard University
http://roadtripnation.com/leader/evelynn-m-hammonds

 

VISIT: https://roadtripnation.com/edu/merritt

Filed under: Careers, Miscellaneous, news, What’s Trending Now at Merritt College. Tagged: , , , , ,

Merritt College launching its new employment website via College Central Network

10 May 2019

Merritt College is pleased to announce the launch of its new employment placement website. Merritt will be using College Central Network as its official job resource and resume system. The site is available 24/7 to students, alumni, and employers.  Visit: www.collegecentral.com/Merritt 

  • Students: quickly apply to jobs and internship/co-op opportunities posted exclusively for you, and search other opportunities via Jobs Central® and Intern Central®, national job boards.
  • Create and upload your resume and career portfolio to make available to employers.
  • Access our events calendar, and career/job search advice documents, podcasts, videos and more.
  • Review Career Fair information and company recruitment visits.
  • Employers search for talented students and alumni, and post unlimited jobs for free.

Cheryl Maier is our College Central site coordinator and will be linking employers to our students and alumni. Our aim is to connect Merritt students and alumni with jobs.

Filed under: Careers, Miscellaneous, news, What’s Trending Now at Merritt College. Tagged: , , ,