Located in the northern region of the Sacramento Valley, the Shasta-Tehama-Trinity Joint Community College District (Shasta College) is dedicated to providing access to undergraduate programs and learning opportunities for northern California communities. Shasta College currently offers 130 associate degrees and certificates and one bachelor’s degree to over 9,000 students in Shasta, Trinity and Tehama counties.

The District is best known on a state and national level for its effective and innovative programs. Shasta College’s most recent successes include the STEP-UP, ACE, BOLD and Advanced Manufacturing programs.

Shasta’s STEP-UP, ACE and BOLD programs have garnered significant recognition from the state of California as recipients of the Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office Innovation in Higher Education Award. The award recognizes Community College Districts that demonstrate innovation, improve student success and offer sustainable programs that can be scaled across the state. Shasta College is the only Community College District to have achieved the award for three consecutive years.

The STEP-UP program was founded in 2013 with the goal of reducing recidivism and stopping a cycle of incarceration. STEP-UP offers low level offenders academic support through six different programs including heavy equipment operations and maintenance, welding, business/office administration, automotive and fire technology. In addition to the opportunity to earn a degree, students in the STEP-UP program experience a “positive sense of belonging” according to program director Robert Bowman. It facilitates an environment where students aren’t judged for past offenses; instead students are given the opportunity to become productive and active members of their communities. Five years ago the program began with 20 students. Since that time it has grown to over 100 students in Shasta and Tehama counties.

In June of 2016, Shasta College launched the Accelerated College Education (ACE) program to assist non-traditional students over the age of 25 in completing a degree or certificate to help them advance in their career. The ACE program overcomes roadblocks non-traditional students typically encounter with traditional education by providing compressed 8 week online and evening courses that allow students to complete 4 courses in a semester. Students who enter the program attend the same online courses and hybrid courses together in a cohort. The combination of online and face to face course work provides flexibility, and the cohort of students creates a peer support network.  The program has a total of 130 former and registered students.

While online education has been effective for many, its economy sacrifices student connection and community. Shasta College’s Bachelor’s through Online and Local Degrees (BOLD) program supports online university students by offering development classes that encourage connection with their university, and provide guidance for students as they transition from university courses to graduate school or a career. Program Director, Buffy Tanner shared that BOLD creates a “physical and academic home” for online university students.  Students in the BOLD program have access to Shasta College’s health center, computer lab and library during their online coursework at other universities.

In 2017, Lumina Foundation designated Shasta College as one of 17 “Talent Hub” communities in the nation. Talent Hubs are communities that have shown capacity and ability to significantly increase the numbers of residents with college degrees, certificates or other credentials beyond a high school diploma. Shasta County is the only rural talent hub, and is considered a proto-type for other rural communities across the nation.

In 2014, Shasta College was awarded a $5.5 million dollar Career Pathways Trust Implementation Grant by the California Department of Education to establish career pathway programs in high-skill, high-wage jobs. The funding permitted the District to revive the build machine shop, and enhance the advanced manufacturing programs. The District’s industrial technology certificates and maintenance mechanic certificates are a direct result of the grant, and were designed to fill a skills gap in the employment workforce. The new machine shop offers students in various advanced manufacturing programs hands on experience to help them succeed in the field.

The District’s outstanding execution of its mission to provide access to undergraduate programs and learning opportunities sets it apart in the education community on a state and national level. The innovation, creativity and practicality applied to creating impactful programs that further education and meet significant needs of the northern California population are worthy of high praise.

Moving forward, the District plans to continuing to grow these and other outstanding programs, and to support northern California with tailored educational opportunities suitable for the region’s needs. Shasta College’s recently completed Educational Master Plan, Facilities Master Plan Amendment  and Integrated Planning Manual maps the District’s intended growth.