New certificate programs give CSUF Extension students a boost in the job market – OCRegister

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By Nicole Gregory, contributing writer
Manufacturing in the U.S. is on the verge of rapid growth, experts say. During the pandemic, supply chain disruptions caused by dependence on foreign countries for manufacturing have resulted in some companies making the commitment to move to localized production.
This enables them to cut costs as well as pollution related to transportation — and will create new jobs.
Growth in manufacturing means an uptick in the need for skilled workers. Cal State Fullerton’s new Advanced Manufacturing Engineering Certificate program, offered as part of its Extension program, has already been preparing students for these new employment opportunities.
Along with a college degree, a certificate gives graduates an advantage when they seek work, helping them to stand out from the crowd of job applicants in manufacturing fields.
“The industry has a need for workers who enter the labor market already equipped with a strong understanding of advanced manufacturing engineering technologies and an in-depth knowledge of how principles can be applied in the field,” said Debbie Vengco, associate director of marketing and communications for the Cal State Fullerton Extension programs.
CSUF’s certificate programs are taught by leaders in their fields who understand the kinds of expertise most needed right now. The lead instructor of the Advanced Manufacturing Engineering Certificate program is Sagil James, associate professor in mechanical engineering, who has 15 years of combined academic research and industry experience. He worked as a product engineer at Larsen and Toubro Ltd. in Mumbai, India, and has a large network of mechanical engineering partners and organizations.
The four-month Advanced Manufacturing Engineering certificate program was first offered in the fall of 2021 and instructs students in advanced manufacturing processes and technologies.
Jobs await the students as soon as they finish the program. “Manufacturing companies from throughout Orange County and the surrounding communities hire our graduates,” said Vengco.
Another new certificate program is set to launch in February: Community Association Management. This, too, was created in response to the need for skilled workers and will be taught by highly regarded professionals in this field.
“The community association management job market has continued to remain stable throughout the years, even during the pandemic, but management company executives have shared that there has been a lack of qualified candidates,” said Vengco. “As homeowners associations continue to rise in California, along with the new laws recently passed regarding single-family zoning, the need for common interest development-savvy professionals also rises,” she said.
Lead instructor Cang N. Le is a practicing attorney with Tinnelly Law Group, a California law firm that specializes in homeowners association law. He heads the litigation and enforcement team and has represented homeowners associations throughout California. He serves as general and litigation counsel for associations, helping to resolve disputes that involve associations, members, vendors, contractors, landowners as well as counties, cities and municipalities.
Another instructor is Corinne Crawford, director of business development at Irvine-based Powerstone Property Management. She has worked with homebuilders and land developers to create successful developments.
“After being in the industry over 21 years, it is almost recession- and now pandemic-proof,” said Crawford in a recently recorded interview. “The job security it offers and the opportunities for specialization make the career as a community manager a great choice. Once a community is built, it never goes away, and I’ve found the work never really decreases in this industry. There are endless possibilities for a career path. If you work hard and you enjoy the industry and settle in with a good company, not only can you advance quickly but you can craft a specific path that works for you and sometimes even create your own position.”
Crawford helped create the curriculum for Community Association Management certificate program, said Vengco.
Students will learn about California-specific laws and ethical guidelines regarding community associations, general business practices for managing community associations, responsibilities of managing a homeowners association, persuasion skills relevant to homeowners associations, and budget and financial management practices for homeowners associations.
Community association management skills are useful for many related businesses. “In our CAM program, instructors and leaders tell us that workers from the tourism, hospitality, events, real estate, retail, property management and service industries thrive in this program,” said Vengco.
Obtaining a professional certificate has many advantages, including an increase in earning potential, according to Indeed, the job-search website. “Students in both programs are a mixture of professionals seeking to either upskill in their field or change careers altogether,” Vengco said.
Twenty-one certificate programs are offered by Cal State Fullerton’s Extension program, covering fields such as business, technology and engineering, and crime and forensics. Certificate programs are designed to help adults move up in their careers or switch into a new career by teaching them the skills they need with instructors who are professionals in those areas.
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