This article ran in the VC Star on April 30, 2023.

en español 

Cynthia Herrera

Ventura County Community College District (VCCCD) offers what industry partners need to train their employees and contribute to Ventura County’s economic recovery. When local businesses and VCCCD partner together in a purposeful way, our county’s economic health is strengthened.

What does this mean?

VCCCD has developed a workforce upskilling training pipeline for adult incumbent workers that can lead to career education pathways at Moorpark, Oxnard or Ventura colleges.

The district is directing its energies on establishing ways of working with local industry to provide businesses with knowledgeable, experienced middle-skill employees who have the foundational and technical skills necessary to get the job done.

VCCCD collaborates with local employers to learn their employee training needs, identify emerging skills gaps and gain insights to align coursework with industry demands.

“Community colleges represent untapped potential for businesses looking to build a well-equipped workforce,” noted Maureen Conway, executive director of the Aspen Institute’s Economic Opportunities Program, in a 2021 article on the Hechinger Report website.

VCCCD offers employers cost-effective, short-term stackable trainings for incumbent employees based on the business’s needs. The trainings are customized, conducted by subject-matter experts and held at the employers’ locations or one of VCCCD’s colleges.

Chronic Middle-Skills Gap

A recent publication from Harvard Business School and the American Association of Community Colleges recognized that nationwide there has been a dramatic change in the nature of work and that has resulted in a “chronic skills gap.” This gap is amplified in the middle-skills portion of the workforce. This results in “...a middle-skills environment disequilibrium, underserving the needs of aspiring workers, employers and ultimately communities,” according to the report.

Highlighting this gap, 89% of manufacturers reported talent shortages nationwide; 69% said the shortages will have high or very high impact on productivity (Legislative Priorities, Association for Career and Technical Education, 2021).

To ensure that our region addresses potential skills gaps, VCCCD has reframed the work we do.

Employee Upskilling

The district offers a variety of trainings to support managers, people moving into leadership positions, effective English communication in the workplace, as well as program improvement. Topics of the trainings can cover everything from manufacturing skills to business development. Whatever the upskill training needs, VCCCD is positioned to help.

Companies and employees are made aware of pertinent course offerings available through VCCCD’s colleges. These trainings connect back to Oxnard, Moorpark, and Ventura colleges’ career pathway programs, allowing students to pursue ongoing educational opportunities.

Job-Ready Skills for Students

It’s critical for the district to work with hiring managers and executives to partner in tangible ways that allow our students to gain practical industry experience and mentorship. Feedback from industry experts helps our colleges prepare students for career-building jobs.

Pipelines and joint marketing efforts can be developed for companies that set hiring targets. These are practical and manageable steps to help solve current industry demands.


VCCCD’s ongoing commitment is to enhance the longevity of our community, strengthen our businesses and support our students. It’s an ongoing process that continually evolves to meet all the stakeholders’ needs.

The district remains committed to the three goals presented in the Harvard Business School and the American Association of Community Colleges’ report: 1) Partnering to offer training and education that is aligned with industry needs, 2) establishing relationships beyond the classroom that pave the way for recruiting and hiring students and 3) making supply and demand decisions informed by the latest data and trends.

VCCCD collaborates with community organizations, government, and area businesses to create an integrated approach that will provide long-term support for businesses based on a growth mindset.

Our community relies on VCCCD and industry working well together. Solutions don’t lie with one entity. By working together collaboratively, long-lasting solutions can be created that will support Ventura County’s economic vitality.

You’re an important part of this commitment. VCCCD invites you to come partner with us.

District Office