Your Pathway to High-wage Careers Begins at College of Alameda


Student in Automotive Technician Program at College of Alameda. Photo courtesy of COA.

By Tim Karas, College of Alameda President

Community colleges are a workforce engine providing opportunities for people to learn new skills, to re-train, to earn professional licenses and industry driven certificates and degrees.  College of Alameda provides high quality Career Technical Education (CTE) pathways. CTE is an integral part of the community college mission.

College of Alameda provides affordable means to well-paying jobs. Courses cost $46 per unit.   Numerous Financial Aid options are available to help cover the cost of college expenses and dedicated Financial Aid staff are available to assist students. Private vocational schools like those that you may have seen advertised on television offer CTE programs as well, but typically at a much higher cost. Some of these schools may charge tens of thousands of dollars in tuition.

California took a bold step in 2016 to create one million more “middle-skill” workers. At the recommendation of the California Community College Board of Governors, the Governor and Legislature approved the Strong Workforce Program, adding an investment of $200 million to spur Career Technical Education (CTE) in the nation’s largest workforce development system comprised of 114 community colleges.

In July 2017, College of Alameda earned Strong Workforce Stars’ recognition in the Advanced Transportation & Renewables sector for its Auto Body and Paint program. Students completing the Program saw their annual earnings increase by 68%.

Auto Body and Paint faculty member Bill Andrews describes the success of the Program: “We have been teaching these skills since 1970 at this College; so many people have heard of the Program from others. I have always felt we deliver a solid learning environment for our Program and focus on training students to develop the skills they need for employment in this industry. They leave the Program with the skills needed to make a living.”

Andrews noted that few places teach automotive restoration courses and Alameda is in the heart of the Bay Area. “We attract students from all over the Bay Area. I would have to say the reason that this course has much success is due to the love of the automobile!  And how important it is to us. As many students, and myself, I look at cars, trucks, motorcycles as rolling art. Many owners of these vehicles want to make it their own style, want to make their car show some of their personality through customizing body panels, painting, or performance upgrades. When students learn skills on how to do this to their cars, they find out how much enjoyment and pride it brings to them.”

College of Alameda earned a second Strong Workforce Stars’ recognition in the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)/Digital Media sector for its Computer Information Systems program, inclusive of Desktop Support Technician and Web Publishing options.

Professor Antonio Villegas attributes the success of the Web Publishing Program to its mature student population, the majority of whom are over the age of 25. Many of these students also are working students, seeking to revamp their professional skills and to gain proficiency in online publishing. Thus, these students join Alameda’s program as directed, focused, and motivated learners. Villegas asserts that Program success is also due to the way the classes are scheduled. Web Publishing classes are generally delivered in online or hybrid mediums and are only half a semester long, which makes them short-term and content-intense.

This article highlights only two of the excellent programs offered at College of Alameda. Additionally, College of Alameda’s CTE portfolio includes: Apparel Design and Merchandising, Aviation Technician, Automotive Technician, Auto Body & Paint, Diesel Mechanic, Dental Assistant, Business and Accounting, and Computer Information Systems. Many more Career Pathways are offered at the other Peralta Colleges (Berkeley City, Merritt, and Laney). Information about these programs can be found on our website:

Fall classes kicked off August 21 but opportunities are still available for students to enroll.


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