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Six-figure grant pays for Las Positas' first 100% online certificate program

Offsite learning and better course access 'a priority' for the school

Las Positas College plans to create more opportunities for offsite learning by using a recent $177,187 state grant to develop its first completely online certificate program and improve course access for students routinely facing challenges making it to campus.

LPC vice president of academic services Kristina Whalen said in a statement that giving students more online education options "is a priority for Las Positas." The Livermore community college current has over 85 degree and certificate programs, with four degree options that are fully available online.

"Not every student can study in a traditional classroom setting," Whalen said. "Disabilities that make it difficult to attend classes on campus, lack of transportation, childcare issues, demands at home and work schedules have traditionally prevented students from enrolling in college. The more opportunities we provide for students to study when and where they can, the more students we'll be able to serve."

The large infusion of cash comes from the "Improving Online CTE Pathways" program, a part of the California Virtual Campus Online Education Initiative backed by the California Community Colleges system.

LPC and its sister campus Chabot College in Hayward are two of 70 colleges throughout the state that were awarded grants this year from the Pathways program, which has given California community colleges and college districts a total of $27.5 million in grants during 2019 for the purpose of creating and improving online career education programs.

Chabot received a grant in the amount of $326,000 to develop six online career and technical education certificates, among other goals.

Whether working on short-term credentials prized by industry professionals or developing a traditional career path, CCC Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley said the grants "improve the online education ecosystem." About one-third of students in the CCC system now take at least one online class.

"This holistic approach includes strengthening traditional college offerings and the opening of Calbright, the new online college that will serve low-wage working adults who can quickly gain short-term credentials," Ortiz Oakley said.

The grant project at LPC is running now through June 30, 2020.

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