Daniel “Dan” Jenkins, Professor/Director of Cooperative Work Experience Education, and Coordinator of Human Services Programs at Mendocino College, grew up in Pennsylvania. After high school, he briefly took a job as a hospital orderly, a position that became seminal to his eventual career. He hitchhiked all over the U.S.A., working various jobs to support his travels. He often found work in the medical field, and he also worked in various trades. He credits his early years of “on the job” training with showing him the value of work experience, although, at the time, he says, he was “living the life of a starving artist and poet.”
A lifelong interest in spirituality led him to Berkeley, CA, in 1976, where he believed he was destined to meet his soul-mate. He and Alese met in Berkeley soon after his arrival, and were married the following year. They celebrated their 33rd wedding anniversary in 2010!
A desire to live in the country led the Jenkins family to Mendocino County, where Dan worked at the Mendocino Community Hospital (MCH). While employed there, he enrolled in the LVN program at Ukiah Adult School, and simultaneously, with his wife, opened a six bed residential care facility for physically and mentally disabled adults in Redwood Valley, while also raising two small children. “It was challenging,” says Jenkins, wryly.
He began his professional health care career at MCH as a detoxification nurse, then as an alcohol and drug counselor for Public Health Outpatient Treatment Services, and eventually as the coordinator for all Public Health alcohol and drug treatment services. Jenkins is proud of the numerous outpatient services he pioneered at Public Health, including the outpatient drug court treatment program (OPTIONS) which is still used by Mendocino County Health and Human Services today. Jenkins notes that he always worked full time and raised a family while in college, through his graduate degrees. He holds an M.A. in Behavioral Health - Conflict Mediation/Negotiation, from CSU Dominguez Hills, as well as a Master Addictions Counselor certification from the National Board of Addiction Examiners.
While at Public Health, Jenkins began serving on the advisory board for the Alcohol and Other Drug Studies (AODS) Program at Mendocino College. He began teaching as an adjunct in the AODS courses, and was eventually hired by the college as the Instructor/Director of Health, Human Services and Public Safety Programs. In this position, he developed the initial LVN to RN nursing program at Mendocino College, which was the foundation for the current nursing program. With community input, he also established the Fire Science certificate and degree programs, and created the Human Service Worker certificate program. In addition, he created a basic care giver training program film series for social services, and led the AODS and paramedic programs through their first accreditation approval processes.
Since taking over the Cooperative Work Experience Education Program at Mendocino College in 2004, Jenkins has continued to write new curricula. He recently completed a human services paraprofessional degree program for people who want to continue their education in social services related fields. He also works with employers to develop work experience and internship positions for his students, and he works with students to help them maximize the educational benefits of their work experience. Jenkins says that his greatest joy is watching students evolve until they experience the benefits of the education they have worked so hard to acquire.
A “quiet guy” by nature, when he has free time, he can often be found at home, digging in his beautiful garden.