SJVC Opens Porterville Campus
Good things come to small towns whose community leaders let each other know when something is working well for them. Within months of San Joaquin Valley College opening a mini-campus in Delano, Porterville expressed an interest in having SJVC open a campus in their rural town of about 50,000 people.
“Mayors, city leaders and developers talk among themselves about what’s going on among neighboring cities,” says Steve Perry, Director of Real Estate Development. “They’re trying to keep the children who were raised there, to stay there. They don’t like their homegrown leaving the area. Education will open career opportunities enabling them to raise their families locally.”
The college, located at 314 N. Main Street in Porterville, will offer three programs: Medical Assisting, Medical Office Administration and Business Administration. Graduates will earn a certificate and may choose to continue their program on the Visalia or Bakersfield campus and earn an Associate of Science degree.
An important decision was which programs to offer, as SJVC’s full-size campuses offer two dozen career training choices. “We did a lot of studies to identify where there might be a need for well-trained employees,” says Adriana Ruiz, Porterville Campus Director. “We determined that Porterville would have sufficient jobs for our graduates.”
The new campus will be ready for occupancy once renovations are complete, which are expected in a few weeks. Morning and evening classes are scheduled to start May 15.
The 7,320-square-foot building is located across from City Hall and just two miles from Hwy. 65. The school includes a reception area, administration offices, classrooms, a medical lab, break room/student lounge and library/resource center, in addition to abundant parking.
The Porterville campus has the potential to touch many lives through career education and training. Should the campus expand its sessions to three day-parts – morning, afternoon and evening classes – as many as 216 students could be enrolled at one time.
“I am thrilled that we will be able to transform student lives in Porterville and nearby communities while providing qualified job-ready graduates to local employers,” says Adriana.
The SJVC Porterville campus will build strong relationships in the community and with local businesses. “All three of our programs have externships for students,” explains Adriana. “Businesses that need extra staff and who are willing to help train, can give our students the opportunity to put their new skills to work,” says Adriana.
“Towns with a population of around 50,000 have become a niche for us,” says Steve. “Maybe they don’t have transportation to commute to school, or the gas is too much to drive back and forth every day; so, if a college is right in their backyard, it just works out better.”
Steve experienced no resistance when he carried the plans for a Porterville campus through all the stages of development with the Planning Commissioners, developers, realty office and Porterville City Council. “From the City Hall staff to the City Council, they were warm and welcoming, and let us know from the beginning that they would do everything they could to help us,” says Steve.
An Open House will provide the Porterville community with an introduction to the new campus sometime in July. Campus staff, faculty, and students will show visiting dignitaries, family and friends around the facility, and all can take pride in a valuable addition to a community invested in their own success.
The Porterville campus will start enrolling students for the May 15th classes on Monday, March 6th. Anyone interested in finding out more about SJVC’s newest campus and its career training options can request information, call 559-853-4114, or stop by the temporary offices located at the campus site.