WHITTIER – Río Hondo College is creating a program to guide community college and K-12 students through an education pathway focused on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and back to local communities in much needed teaching roles.

Called the Community Partnerships for Teacher Pipeline (CPTP), the program is made possible by a three-year, $2.9 million U.S. Department of Education Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) grant that Río Hondo College will share with El Camino College, Cerritos College and the Center for Collaborative Education, which serves as the fiscal agent. Each college partner will receive about $900,000 over the life of the grant.

“This is really a community grant because it will allow us to work with both K-12 and community college teachers as mentors in the classroom for students who are interested in STEM fields and who would like to go into teaching,” Acting Superintendent/President Teresa Dreyfuss said.

Students will be provided with a certificated teacher mentor in K-12 or community college, a success coach, workshops and hands-on classroom while taking pre-credential coursework. The program also includes a focus on special education and early childhood education teaching roles.

The program intersects with the College’s larger STEM strategy, which is aimed at boosting enrollment in the high-demand fields for a new generation of students. As a result, it will also address the shortage of qualified STEM teachers in the workforce.

“Our community is rich in diversity as well as skills in math, science and computer science that — if directed into the teaching profession – can immeasurably enrich our children’s education,” Dreyfuss said.

One-on-one support and the mentoring program will provide opportunities for participants to build positive personal relationships and develop employment knowledge and skills. The College also will work with California State University campuses, STEM and community organizations to build and scale teacher preparation pipelines with a community development approach.