San Marcos education leaders forging partnerships to produce tomorrow’s workforce
City hosts successful biennial Education Forum
Forging partnerships to educate students for the jobs of tomorrow was a key theme voiced Wednesday, Sept. 6 by the leaders of Cal State San Marcos, Palomar College and the San Marcos School District in a special forum hosted by the City of San Marcos.
San Marcos Mayor Jim Desmond, who pioneered the biennial meetings 12 years ago to bring together top school administrators in a city recognized as the education hub of north San Diego County, said the “talent starts here” with the 60,000 students who attend classes from kindergarten through college.
The key challenge addressed by Dr. Karen Haynes, president of Cal State San Marcos, Dr. Joi Lin Blake, president of Palomar College, and Melissa Hunt, superintendent of the San Marcos school district, was how to best train a workforce to meet future economic needs.
All three administrators discussed the value of cooperation, collaboration and connection in developing innovative approaches to meeting the rapidly changing technological demands of area businesses and also meeting the needs of economically disadvantaged students.
“I can’t think of a community…as connected as we are,” Hunt said. “We have worked together to problem solve.”
Dr. Haynes pointed out that Cal State San Marcos now has more than 40,000 alums, and about 80 percent have stayed in the region and make a major contribution to its economic development. The university has played a key role in its “ability and innovation to look at what the work force needs for the future,” she said. As examples, she noted the university is expanding its engineering offerings and has introduced a master’s degree program in cybersecurity.
Dr. Blake echoed that theme, praising the “intellectual capital” at Palomar and saying the college is committed to changing rapidly and carrying out “innovative disruption” as education demands evolve. As an example of college-business cooperation, she said the college is developing a program on “how to use drones in business and industry.”
All three educators cited numerous scholarship and academic programs aimed at opening the doors at Palomar and Cal State San Marcos for students striving to attend college. “We collectively provide the access to demographically diverse students,” Dr. Haynes said. “Everything we do has intentionality.”
As the meeting held at the Cal State San Marcos campus came to a close, Desmond said his sixth forum would be his last because of the term limit on his time as mayor. “The community of San Marcos embraces education,” he said, praising the spirit of “collaboration,” “working together” and “forming partnerships” that has marked the evolution of San Marcos as an education hub.