City welcomes SJVC
Vocational college will graduate first class in December
Porterville officially welcomed San Joaquin Valley College to the community with a ribbon cutting ceremony at its new Porterville campus on Main Street Wednesday. The event was attended by representatives from local government, Chamber of Commerce and City Council members, students and community members.
The vocational college, which began instruction on May 15, was given a warm welcome by a succession of speakers from around the community.
Stephanie Cortez, Porterville Chamber president, welcomed attendees to the event, and City Councilmember Martha Flores gave opening remarks and pre-
sented tokens of appreciation to Joseph Holt, chief administrative officer for SJVC, and Adriana Ruiz, president of the new campus.
“I am a strong supporter of expanding local educational options,” said Flores. “Having San Joaquin Valley College in Porterville will help students obtain the necessary skills to be successfully employed. You are a valuable addition to our community.”
Assemblyman Devon Mathis was in attendance for the event, and presented SJVC staff with a certificate of appreciation. Representatives for Senator Andy Vidak and Congressman Kevin Mccarthy also presented certificates and welcomed the school to the community.
“I’ve had family members go through this program, and I’ve seen it change lives,” said Mathis. “On a personal level, I’m really excited to have [SJVC] here in my hometown, because I know what a game-changer this is for people who are trying to get a step ahead and provide for their families.”
Cheryl Marshall, current medical assistant student at SJVC Porterville, offered her perspective on her education experience thus far.
“The school has become a second home to me. The instructors genuinely care and want students to succeed,” said Marshall. “They have taught me that it’s never too late, and you’re never too old to learn.”
Holt and Ruiz presided over the ribbon cutting, and then invited attendees to tour the new facilities, where students explained their coursework and even offered to demonstrate their newly acquired skills by performing blood sugar tests.
“We have campuses from Sacramento all the way down to San Diego, but our heart is in the Valley,” said Holt as he gave a brief summary of SJVC history. “SJVC was born and raised in communities just like this one.”
The Porterville site is the 15th SJVC campus. The 7,320-square-foot campus is located across from City Hall, and includes a reception area, administration offices, classrooms, a medical lab, break room, student lounge, library/resource center and ample parking.
The campus currently offers three programs, which were determined to be most beneficial based on an SJVC feasibility study and community outreach: clinical medical assisting, medical office administration and business administration.
Graduates will earn a certificate and may choose to continue their program at the Visalia or Bakersfield campus and earn an Associate of Science degree. Current enrollment is at 95 students, and future students will bring that number to well over 100 by the end of the year. The first class will graduate in December.
Assemblyman Devon Mathis, left, was among attendees touring the new SJVC campus in Porterville during its ribbon cutting ceremony Wednesday.