Agriculture Coalition for Training (ACT)

The Agriculture Coalition for Training works to advance Bakersfield College's vision of becoming a regional leader to support the agriculture industries' transition to new, clean technology. Once we agree on a broader vision and the types of collaborative activities we would like to see, we can then design (and cost out) one or more proposals for funding.


Bakersfield College is in Kern County - one of the top producing agricultural counties in the nation and is considered “ground zero” for the state's clean energy transition. Bakersfield College is the largest community college in Kern Community College District, which includes Cerro Coso College located in northeastern Kern County and Porterville College located in Tulare County. The county features significant oil and agricultural production and is increasingly the home of many new renewable energy projects. In addition, BC has been engaged in work related to rural health disparities and has built a coalition with UC Merced, Fresno State, UCSF in Fresno and other partners through the Rural Health Equity and Learning (HEAL) Collaborative.

Bakersfield College will play a leadership role in:

  1. Providing critical job training to the region to ensure economically inclusive expansion of the agriculture industry and diverse energy solutions for the agriculture industry.
  2. Convening industries in the agriculture industry, governmental agencies, and institutions of higher learning to offer a “safe zone” for substantive conversations which may serve to influence state and local policy 
  3. Facilitating strategic research and statewide discussions on policy challenges facing the agriculture industry.

The Vision

Establish an Agriculture Coalition for Training at Bakersfield College that will facilitate discussion for (1) workforce development, (2) research and innovation, and (3) policy challenges. Bakersfield College will partner with other industry leaders in the Central Valley to support dissemination and adoption of best practices in the agriculture industry as it relates to efficient, clean technologies. Bakersfield College will serve as a curricular content partner. The Agriculture Coalition for Training will provide wider visibility for in the Central Valley's Kern County agriculture industry, and in California, with industry, state government, and universities within California.

Role of Partners & Sponsors

Bakersfield College, will serve as a content partner to support Bakersfield College students and students in the Central Valley, and faculty with cutting edge knowledge on technologies, and a research partner on local and regional pilot programs that sit at the nexus of “energy-food-water-land” use in Kern County. To begin this partnership, the Agriculture Coalition for Training will conduct a series of convening to better understand where the future of the agriculture industry is headed. Once this is established, a virtual presence will be established through participation in a series of webinars to raise visibility of agriculture-related issues in Kern County - the target audience for these webinars will be local industry and state-level policymakers, as well as students and faculty involved and interested in this industry.

Moving forward, the Agriculture Coalition for Training & Sponsors could be involved in the following activities:

  • Provide strategic advice on the structuring of an Agriculture Coalition for Training at Bakersfield College as an influential regional player on the agriculture industry's adoption of clean energy, workforce development, and expansion of economic opportunities
    • Co-chair an industry advisory board to provide ongoing advice on activities, programming decisions, research strategies, and fundraising
  • Help develop a curriculum for associate degree and/or undergraduate students focused on agriculture related application of workforce needs, renewable energy, sustainability, energy efficiency, and related topics
    • With appropriate funding and forward-planning, the Agriculture Coalition for Training and sponsors could also work to provide input on the expansion of undergraduate majors energy-food-water-land issues
  • Contribute to online or in-person lectures, classes or symposium discussions
  • Assist Bakersfield College staff and students to design and implement local research projects
  • Collaborate on the design and implementation of local pilot projects which support both research and job training on energy-food-water-land nexus issues
  • Work closely with Bakersfield College and coordinate with the state of California, other colleges and universities, electric utilities, agricultural industry organizations, agricultural businesses, foundations and federal agencies regarding agriculture related energy issues, concerns, potential innovations and solutions.

Role of Bakersfield College

Bakersfield College will play a leadership role in:

  1. Oversight and management of the Agriculture Coalition for Training
  2. Lead on student and faculty engagement and workforce development programs
  3. Lead on Agriculture Coalition for Training tracking and reporting out on progress and results
  4. Lead Agriculture Coalition for Training fundraising and outreach
  5. Lead on Agriculture curriculum design and rollout of content
  6. Lead and coordinate online or in-person lectures, classes, or symposium discussions

Project Groups

Steering Committee

The Agriculture Coalition for Training Steering Committee will include key stakeholder who will guide the work of this project in general oversight of activities, programming decisions, research strategies, and fundraising. Members of this committee would include, but not be limited to:

  • Co-chair: Jessica Wojtysiak, BC Project Director
  • From KCCD: Sonya Christian, Chancellor and John Means, KCCD Vice Chancellor, Educational Services
  • From BC Foundation: Cheryl Scott, Executive Director
  • From BC Faculty: Heather Baltis, Agriculture Department Chair
  • Agriculture Industry Expert: Jeff Rasmussen, Agronomist, Delmart Farms

Advisory Committee

The Agriculture Coalition for Training Committee will provide advisory guidance on curriculum and program outcomes based on the collective experience of industry, academic, community, and political partners.

  • Chair: TBD

Planning Task Force

The Agriculture Coalition for Training Planning Task Force is a KCCD internal group, primarily with faculty leads, tasked to develop the curriculum design and program outcome details based on feedback from the steering and advisory committees.

  • Chair: Heather Baltis, BC Agriculture Department Chair
  • Co-Chair: Jessica Wojtysiak, BC Project Director

Fund Raising Task Force

The Agriculture Coalition for Training Fundraising Task Force, led by the Bakersfield College Foundation, will develop a strategic fundraising plan to establish industry driven projects.

  • Chair: Cheryl Scott, Executive Director, BC Foundation