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Office of Community and Economic Development


Parent University Spring '18 Courses Kick Off throughout the Region

Fall 2017 Parent University graduates in Huron, CA

OCED’s Parent University kicked off its 2018 spring semester of courses on January 22. Nine-week courses are currently active in the communities of Coalinga, Firebaugh, Huron, Madera and Riverdale with more than 20 parents enrolled per site.

Parent University participants in a computer skills 2018

Parent University is part of OCED’s San Joaquin Valley Rural Development Center and is designed to build capacity in rural communities, by training and hiring local instructors to teach participants various life skills. The program offers courses in digital literacy, English as a Second Language and parenting skills – and all courses are provided at no cost to participants.

Fall 2017 graduates of a computer skills course

Community members are encouraged to enroll in the courses. The goal is to educate parents on how to better communicate with their children understand the technology their children utilize at school and home. Participants of computer literacy courses learn basic computer skills, while also learning how to conduct scholarship searches and how to help their children gain access to higher education.

“Parents are grateful for the opportunity to learn even though they occasionally think they are ‘too old’ and can be apprehensive at first to try to use technology,” said Felipe Perez, the Parent University project coordinator at OCED, who instructs courses in Firebaugh where he is also the community's mayor. “But they are in some ways ideal students because they crave new knowledge. Parent University helps them to overcome mental barriers, and lays the foundation for them continue to work with technology, just as their children do.”