A grant from the U.S. Department of Education was recently renewed that will allow Mendocino College to continue its High School Equivalency Program (HEP). The program is expected to receive $400,000 per year for five consecutive years, beginning in the 2020-21 academic year. HEP has been in existence since 1967 and is an educational program which serves migrant or seasonal agricultural working families. Since its first award in 2001, the program has served close to 1,000 eligible migrant/seasonal farm working students in Mendocino and Lake Counties.
“We are thrilled to have this grant renewed. HEP has been an important program for students in our community. It has been highly successful; students graduate at a high rate and the experience has a positive impact on the students and their families, building confidence and a new relationship with education,” says Mendocino College Vice President of Academic Affairs Debra Polak.
The Mendocino College HEP mission is to assist migrant seasonal agricultural workers and their immediate family members in Mendocino and Lake counties to obtain a High School Equivalency Certificate, and subsequently, gain improved employment, begin post-secondary studies or enlist in military services. Mendocino College HEP is committed to providing academic support such as preparation classes, personalized tutoring, support with testing fees, transportation assistance, books and supplies as well as transitional services such as career exploration, financial literacy, scholarship assistance, informational and academic workshops, and exposure to cultural events and excursions.
“I am excited to continue having HEP at Mendocino College. HEP is an exceptional program that provides opportunities for those who were unable to complete their studies,” stated HEP Program Manager Jackeline Orozco. “I truly believe that every person deserves to have a second chance in life to continue their education and be successful. This is what HEP provides to these non-traditional students to become productive citizens. Through these educational opportunities, the students motivate and believe in themselves, in addition to having a new opportunity to improve their job opportunities and/or pursue higher education as a Mendocino College student. Through their studies, our students are a great example for their children in becoming good students.”
The program also hopes to improve collaboration between local education providers and employers to ensure student-learning objectives are aligned with the skills or knowledge required for employment in in-demand industry sectors or occupations. HEP offers instruction and testing at all Mendocino College locations in, Willits, Lakeport, Ukiah and Fort Bragg. For more information about Mendocino College HEP please call (707) 472-7253.