by: Jessica Martinez
This spring semester, Bakersfield College launched Project HireUp, a collaboration between BC, the Mission at Kern County, the faith-based local non-profit City Serve, and industry partners including Adventist Health. The goal of Project HireUp is to decrease homelessness in Kern County through a creative and innovative partnership that supports students who are currently experiencing housing insecurity in continuing their education and securing employment. In February, the first cohort of students took four weeks of non-credit courses at Bakersfield College’s Job Spot location and graduated with a certificate in Basic Office Skills that, after weeks of intensive career counseling, prepared them for employment with one of the project’s industry partners.
The success of Project HireUp’s first cohort has served as a model for Bakersfield College’s new program, Pathways to Employment, which aims to equip students with the knowledge and skills they need to thrive in what is sure to be an incredibly competitive job market post-COVID-19. Pathways to Employment launches later this month with two new program options that can be completed online in just a few weeks: Basic Office Skills and ServSafe Food Handler. Students who are eligible for BC’s SOAR program will also qualify for additional services such as one-on-one tutoring, financial assistance with textbook purchases, career counseling, and mentorships. The goal of Pathways to Employment is to provide Bakersfield College students, particularly those who reside in the rural areas of Kern County, with unique and innovative educational opportunities along with the highest quality support services to bolster students' success in these changing times.
The first cohort of Project HireUp students take classes at the Bakersfield College Job Spot. The top picture is the cohort at a networking event with employers at the Bakersfield College Launchpad.