COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on our economy and has taken a heavy toll on our small businesses. Fortunately, the Economic Development Division at College of the Canyons has provided, and will continue to provide, employers with the resources they need to get through these difficult times.
If you ask me how that came to be, I would have to say that it was in no small part due to the support of Michele Jenkins, 30-plus-year member of the COC board of trustees. Michele was supportive of the college’s economic development mission over a decade before the state recognized it as one of the key missions of the statewide community college system. Ahead of the time, yes. Still relevant and impactful today, absolutely.
Not only during the pandemic, but for over 30 years, Michele has been a tireless advocate for our local companies in both good and bad economic times. If you, a family member or your company have benefited from the college’s efforts to assist individuals and the companies who employ them to learn, compete and grow, you can thank Michele Jenkins for her unwavering support of the college’s Economic Development Division.
The number of individuals and companies served over the last 30 years is large. To give you a sense of the impact, in the four and one-half years since 2016, the college has served more than 5,000 businesses and trained more thaan 10,000 employees by bringing in more than $15 million of outside funding to benefit our community. As the Economic Development Division’s activities are largely funded through grants and other program funding applied for, and received, from state and federal sources, all this support was generated without taking away resources from the educational mission of the college.
While many community colleges have minimal if any economic development teams, Michele Jenkins believes that support to local businesses is good for businesses and their employees, good for the college and its students and good for the vitality of the Santa Clarita Valley. She has consistently and ardently supported the Economic Development Division of the college for decades. As the retired dean of economic development, I know this to be true. So, from the thousands of businesses that your support has helped, I say thank you Michele and ask each of you, the voters of Santa Clarita, to cast your vote for Michele Jenkins, board of trustees, Region 4, so that she can continue to fight for the needs of the college’s students and our local companies so necessary to create economic prosperity in the SCV.