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Lynell Wiggins, a counselor at Pasadena City College, on the ramp between the R and C buildings on Thursday, January 15, 2015. WIggins was recently appointed to serve on a California Community Colleges task force. (Kristen Luna/Courier)
Lynell Wiggins, a counselor at Pasadena City College, on the ramp between the R and C buildings on Thursday, January 15, 2015. WIggins was recently appointed to serve on a California Community Colleges task force. (Kristen Luna/Courier)

California Chancellor Brice W. Harris has announced the appointment of Pasadena City College Board of Trustees member Linda Wah and counselor Lynell R. Wiggins to a 24-person task force charged with helping to increase the economic competitiveness of California’s workforce.

The task force will promote the relevant skills and credentials employers are seeking in order to help fuel a stronger economy.

“The men and women I have appointed to the task force will collaborate with California’s business and educational leaders to determine what needs to be done to help the California Community Colleges craft educational programs that provide our students with relevant job skills,” Harris said in a press release.

Linda Wah had the opportunity to be a part of a professional internship, and she attributes that experience to later successes in her career. She believes this task force will be able to help students who do not have such opportunities already.

“I see too many students who have graduated or are close to graduation, but don’t have the benefit of job experience and professional networking and sponsorship,” said Wah. “I believe we can create similar opportunities for our students through stronger relationships with our business partners and communities.”

Wiggins also points out that he will be bringing his own experiences to the table to shed light on aspects of the task force that not all representatives may already have.

“Each of the professionals selected for this endeavor brings their own unique lens to this appointment,” Wiggins said. “I realized that my role is to provide the voice of how we can enhance student success for students along the workforce continuum.”

The California Community Colleges Board of Governors commissioned the task force with its goal on November 17, 2014. The task force will consider strategies and recommend policies to prepare students for high-value jobs, to position California’s regions so they attract high value jobs, to create more jobs through workforce training that enables small business development and to finance the initiatives.

It will be holding its first meeting on Thursday, January 22 to begin discussing what methods will best ascertain the proper mix of education, training and employer involvement to stimulate a better understanding of employer expectations.

Wah and Wiggins have many goals they wish to accomplish with and through the task force. It is clear that the future of the states’ economy and that of students is a number one priority for all members.

“Ultimately, I hope we are able to transform systems that allow us to educate students regarding viable career options with local employment opportunities,” Wiggins said, “and to convey to students throughout our system that establishing a career trajectory involves sustained effort, a commitment to building relationships, and the ever growing reality that you must continually enhance your professional skill-set throughout the journey.”

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