WHITTIER – Rio Hondo College’s Office of Online Education has received a $477,000 grant as part of the California Virtual Campus Online Education Initiative to add or update 16 industry-valued online certificate programs in fields ranging from Wildland Fire Technology to Web Design.

The 16 programs were strategically chosen from a diversity of campus programs with the goal of transforming online education within each division. Río Hondo College anticipates the degree and certificate programs will be open to students in fall 2020.

“This grant is a strong endorsement of the strength of Rio Hondo College’s career instructional program,” Superintendent/President Dr. Arturo Reyes said. “The funds will allow us to strengthen an already top-notch program to ensure our students receive the training necessary to enjoy amplified career opportunities that, in turn, will enrich our communities.”

The 16 online Associate of Arts/Certificate programs include: Deaf Studies; Foundations of Interpreting; Wildland Fire Technology; Sports and Fitness Management; American Sign Language; Sports Coaching; Art Studio Entrepreneurship; Elementary Education; Online Digital Technology; Graphic Design; Packaging Design; Branding and Image Design; Advertising Design; Web Design; Health Information Technology; and Publications.

The certificates reflect the workforce need and employment landscape in key sectors regionally and across California. All of the courses and certificates will be designed to ensure Rio Hondo College’s online education promotes student engagement and provides learners with the tools they need to be successful.

“Rio Hondo College is committed to extending educational opportunities to a diverse population of students with alternative methods and delivery formats,” said Grant Linsell, dean of arts and cultural programs; distance education. “These approaches to instruction outside the traditional classroom setting provide an array of credit and non-credit courses, programs, training and associated services via technology.”

In addition to enabling the College to expand online and CTE programs, the grant will also jumpstart campus-wide investment in and student accessibility to online courses, certificates and degrees.

The overarching goal of Rio’s Online Education program is to increase accessibility and create visibility of online certificate programs that lead to entry-level job opportunities or opportunities for career advancement within a selected field. Additionally, certificate programs such as American Sign Language, Wildland Fire and Graphic Design feed into existing degree programs, strengthening these pathways to completion.

Rio Hondo College’s online program currently includes 11 local degrees, eight certificate options and three Associate Degrees for Transfer (ADT), which guarantee admission to the California State University system.

In 2017-18, 22.3% of Rio Hondo College students took online courses.