In response to regional housing costs that are among the highest in the country, the San Mateo County Community College District has undertaken a number of different initiatives to assist faculty and staff with high housing costs, including building apartments that are rented at below-market rates to district employees. Rents from the projects are set at a level that is sufficient to pay back all costs of construction, financing, maintenance, and operations and fund a long-term capital reserve.
In September 2010, the district completed its second faculty/staff housing complex. Located on the Canada College Campus in Redwood City, the facility has 60 units. College Vista, the district's first faculty staff housing project, located adjacent to College of San Mateo, was opened in December 2005 and has 44 units.
SMCCCD.'s goal is to design for sustainability and, when it makes sense, seek external recognition and/or design to external criteria including: LEED certi cation, CHPS (California High Performance Schools), Sustainable San Mateo County, and PG&E.'s Savings by Design. The district maintains design standard policies including a design standard for sustainability. The standard articulates that the following elements be taken into account when designing capital projects for the district:
Indoor environmental quality
Energy and water conservation
Landscaping with native and drought resistant plants
Public transportation usage
For new buildings, the district requires designers to engineer buildings that are minimum 25% more efficient than required by Title 24. In several instances, the engineers have been able to do better than that and many of the district's new buildings are in the 30-40% more efficient range. The district participates in energy efficiency retrofit programs including the Savings By Design Program, as well as the California Community Colleges Independently Owned Utilities Partnership Program. The district has submitted applications and received rebates on nearly every new building and renovation project over the last several years.
Economic Development and Vocational Trainings
The district offers more than 90 vocational-technical programs at its three colleges. Students can earn either an Associate in Arts or Science Degree or receive Certificates of Proficiency in their chosen fields. Fields include accounting, nursing, multimedia, automotive technology, cosmetology, dental assisting, office technology, medical assisting, radiologic technology, surgical technology and many more. The region's high schools have articulated course work with the colleges so that high school students can take high school courses for credit towards many of these programs giving them a jump-start on entry into the workforce.
All three of the district's colleges offer curriculums focused on "green job." training. Many of these programs are geared to help Workforce Investment Act eligible workers transition into "green jobs." such as solar thermal installers or technicians, solar photovoltaic installers, sales representatives or estimators, and home energy retrofit occupations to name a few. The colleges have also developed courses in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and green building for high school students, as well as training sessions for high school teachers who are interested in the curriculum.
Senior college district officials also serve on the local Workforce Investment Board (WIB). In addition, the colleges maintain industry advisory councils with more than 200 local employers who advise on curriculum content and workforce needs for all of our workforce development programs.