From University Grad to Community College – North Bay Scholar Continues to Add New Skills to Repertoire – CBS San Francisco

By Jennifer Mistrot and Elizabeth Cook

KENTFIELD (KPIX) – Many students question their career path after graduating from college. Vicki Diaz Rodes found herself searching close to home for her future professional success.

The 22-year-old San Rafael resident is among the few million students expected to graduate from college by the end of 2021. In fact, Diaz just received her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Merced.

“I got a double major in psychology and sociology,” said Diaz Rodes. “And a minor in Spanish.”

But his next step may be a bit surprising for some. Diaz Rodes is back to school, online for now at the College of the Sailor, taking computer lessons.

“I think it all started with my job search. At first I realized that every career has some kind of technological aspect built into it, ”said Diaz Rodes. “This is one of the reasons I decided to look for coding skills.”

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Skills that require classes like arithmetic and an introduction to Python allow Diaz Rodes to focus on a career path she never expected. It’s a common educational choice, says Jon Horinek, dean of enrollment services at the College of Marin.

“We have had an increase in the number of returning students who have some sort of higher education experience,” Horinek said. “They are coming back to learn skills that will help them adjust to the new economy. “

Skills are needed for a new economy and its fracture, both of which have been highlighted by the pandemic. Diaz Rodes has seen his nearby community struggle with basics like COVID-19 testing and access to food

“I remember helping the women in my building find food banks online,” recalls Diaz Rodes. “Everything was in English, but a lot of the resources, the community targeted by AP was for the Latino community. “

It is familiar territory for Diaz Rodes and his parents. Her mother and father are immigrants from Guatemala.

“I see it with my own eyes, I always have to help my parents navigate apps, navigate websites. It’s a very big problem, ”she said. “The lack of diversity in the construction of certain programs.

Diaz Rodes draws inspiration from these experiences. She will take about five more computer science courses at the College of Marin in preparation for the university. Its ultimate goal is to design programs that serve the Latino community. And she wants others to know that a community college campus is a great place to learn the extra skills needed in today’s job market.

“I think a lot of students sometimes limit themselves by not taking classes or looking for resources because of the financial burden,” said Diaz Rodes. “And I think doing research on community colleges and taking advantage of the programs they offer is very beneficial because it helps you develop skills to an accredited level that is beneficial to the workforce.”

College of Marin wants potential students to know that there are excellent financial resources available to help those in need. And many community colleges offer certificates as well as associate’s degrees, so the help is out there.

Sam D. Gomez