Volume 46 Number 1
Wins John Rice award
The Taft College Transition to Independent Living Program received the 2010 Dr. John W. Rice Diversity and Equity Award for its formidable work in helping to integrate disabled students into campus life.
The award from the California Community Colleges Chancellors Office was established 10 years ago to promote diversity at the community colleges and is named for the late John Rice, a former member of the Board of Governors. On hand to present the award during a special ceremony on July 12 was Rice’s daughter, former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Equity and diversity
The Transition to Independent Living Program at Taft College exemplifies the ideas of equity and diversity through the integration of students with disabilities into campus life. It is the only residential community college program in the state that serves students with autism and intellectual disabilities. Students come from communities throughout California with unique demographic backgrounds which also adds to the campus diversity.
The Transition to Independent Living Program, which was highlighted in The Advocate in 2006, has gained national and international recognition based on the successful outcomes these students have achieved upon their completion of the program. Eighty-nine percent of the students complete the two-year program and of those students, 95 percent live independently and 89 percent are employed.
Jeff Ross, coordinator of student support services for the college, couldn’t be more pleased to have received the award – especially because it was recognized by Chancellor Jack Scott as an economic development program.
Provides life skills
“We are using the community college as a setting to provide life skills so that these students can become self-sufficient and not rely on the taxpayers. It’s about self-sufficiency,” he said.
Sharing the award was Elaine Moore, founder of Project Success, a program at El Camino College that seeks to improve the academic performance of inner city students.
“I would like to congratulate the winners from Taft and El Camino College. These wonderful programs foster what my father stood for,” said Condoleezza Rice. “My father taught me that you can come from humble beginnings and do great things if you have an education. Nothing captured his imagination, passion and attention more than the California Community Colleges and the time he served as a member of the Board of Governors.”