Tag Archives: Norco College

Norco College Offers Degrees to Prisoners

By Anthony Saude

Norco – There are seven rows of desk that seat 23 Norco College students, all men all dressed with the same blue shirts and pants. Does college have a uniform these days? No the shirts the men wear all have “CDCR prisoner” printed on them. Each one of these college students are actually inmates at the California Rehabilitation Center in Norco, a medium security prison on the grounds of the former Lake Norconian Resort.

Norco College formed an alliance with the prison in February of 2016 to make college degrees for these men available. The core mission of the College in Norco has always been to educate the historically under-served populations. The college is just continuing to follow their core mission statement with the prison for no other reason other than it is right in their own backyard.

One student Robert Beebe, 41, dropped out of his Norwalk high school in the ninth grade. He got involved in gangs at a young age and served two, two-year terms in prison in the 90’s. Ultimately he was arrested for attempted murder and he is now in his 19th year of a 20 year sentence.

Beebe, got his GED while in solitary confinement and has been moving in a positive direction ever since. Beebe got out of the gangs, changed his whole mindset and will be living somewhere different when he is released. He has already earned an associate’s degree in theological studies while in prison. He plans to earn his associate’s degree in business by the spring of 2018. That will take 6 months off of his sentence.

The warden shows his support to the men and their efforts by having a graduation ceremony twice a year for GED and vocations. He works in the prison’s plumbing department. He would use his degree and experience to start a business installing ornamental koi ponds and waterfalls.

A lot of these men just made some bad choices but have been committed to turning their life around since the day they were convicted. This type of program shows them that people do care and there is hope and love out there for them.

Norco College’s original plan was to start offering classes in the fall of 2018 that just wasn’t fast enough for the official’s at the prison. The wanted it to happen immediately so the college made it happen.

Prisoners who take part in an educational program are 43 percent less likely to return to prison says a 2013 RAND Corporation report.  They’re 13 percent more likely to get a job. The report also says that for every $1 invested in prison education save the taxpayers $4 to $5 after prisoners are released.

105 students enrolled this fall, all of them with 10 years or less left on their sentences. Giving prisoners vocational skills gives them hope and options other than committing crimes.

The college hasn’t had any trouble with finding faculty members to take part in the program. They are knocking down the administration’s doors asking them to pick their major. They don’t focus on the crimes committed only on helping them make a new life for themselves. They understand that there is a danger there but that what they are dealing with are human beings that made a bad choice or choices in their lives.

 

Norco College Military Recognition

By Anthony Saude

Inland Empire – Norco College has been recognized by two prestigious military organizations for their efforts to include programs centered on their military population. Norco College received recognition from Military Times for the third time in four years as one of the best colleges for veterans to attend. The college doubled up when Military Friendly® notified them that it has been named a bronze-level Military Friendly® School Award recipient for 2018.

Norco College President Bryan Reece reportedly said “We are so proud for these recognitions,” “This is a true testament of the exceptional service Norco College provides to the veteran community in their transition from classrooms to careers.”

Norco College was one of only three Community College’s in California to be recognized by Military Times, ranking them 16th overall. In 2015, NC ranked 20th on the Military Times list and 16th in 2017. The rankings were the most competitive they have ever been for 2018 with 218 colleges submitting an extensive, 150 question survey to be considered. Less than half of the schools that participated made the cut at all.

According to the Military Times, the rankings were more competitive than ever, a record number of schools participated in the annual survey, and less than half made the cut. The rankings were based on the college’s survey responses and data from the Federal Education, Defense and Veterans Affairs departments. The recognition was based on five categories: culture, academic quality and outcomes, policies, student support, cost and financial aid. You can view the whole list of rankings at MilitaryTimes.com, as well as ArmyTimes.com, NavyTimes.com, AirForceTimes.com and MarineCorpsTimes.com.

Military Friendly® recognized Norco College by awarding them with the Military Friendly school award for 2018. Over 1200 post secondary schools were designate as Military Friendly in November of this year. Only 541 of those schools were recognized for excellence in the categories of: academic policies and compliance, admissions and orientation, culture and commitment, financial aid and assistance, graduation and career, and military student support and retention.

The names of awardees are published online at https://militaryfriendly.com/ and will be printed in G.I. Jobs® and Guide to Military Friendly® Schools.

Find out more about Norco College’s award winning Veterans Resource Center at:

http://www.norcocollege.edu/services/admissions/veterans

Norco College Turns 25!

Photo courtesy: Norco College

Photo courtesy: Norco College
Norco College students form the number “25” to help celebrate Norco’s Silver Anniversary

Staff Reports

NORCO– Norco College celebrated its 25th Silver Anniversary last month with a group photo, a time-capsule opening and a western-style jamboree.

Norco College, a branch of Riverside City College, first opened in 1991. Riverside Community College leaders first began to dream about a branch campus in the area in the early 1970s. On June 4, 1985, that dream was realized when more than 141 acres of U.S. government-owned land—the site of what would become Norco College—were acquired by RCCD for one dollar to build a satellite campus.

The campus was expected to open in 1989, but funding and construction delays pushed the date to 1991. On March 13 of that year, two classrooms in the Student Services and Little Theatre buildings were ready for students, and about 15 short-term classes in economics, philosophy, public speaking, and a handful of other traditional academic disciplines were held on campus that spring semester. (Approximately 100 other classes that began in January were taught in Norco area high schools and a church, as they had been for years.) The formal opening of the full campus (with two more classrooms: Science and Technology and Humanities) took place in the fall of 1991— coinciding with the 75th anniversary of Riverside City College.

The celebration, which included music, a snow cone truck, a birthday cake and real horses, brought in to represent the Norco Mustangs, was just part of the fun for students.  A large group of students had their photo taken on the quad as they stood in the shape of the number “25”.

Norco College freshman Jennifer Lyn, who was part of the photo, said that she “loves Norco College and its small feel.  All of the teachers and staff truly want to help students succeed.”

A time capsule left by the 1991-1992 Norco student body was opened on March 10.  Math Professor Bob Prior, who was also the Student Activities Coordinator in the early years of RCC’s Norco Campus, led the unveiling with special guest Pedro Argumendo, retired Grounds staff, who helped bury the time capsule in the 1990’s.  Included in the capsule were Norco College flags, a university-edition Bible, a student I.D., a photo CD and a convocation booklet, among other items.

On March 12, Norco College continued its 25-Year Anniversary celebration with a western-style jamboree that included individuals from the cities of Norco and Corona, RCCD Board of Trustee members, and current and past employees of the college.