Campus: CSU Northridge -- October 24, 2005

Cal State Northridge/LA County Partnership on Workforce Training is Renewed

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors recently extended through 2009-10 the county's contract with Cal State Northridge for its operation of the award-winning Los Angeles County Learning Academy (LACLA). A $2.2 million allocation for 2005-06 will be renewable annually over the life of the five-year contract.

Created in 1999 to meet county workforce training and development needs, the academy now is regarded as a national model for public education partnerships.

More than 4,100 county employees already have been trained at the academy, for which CSUN's Roland Tseng College of Extended Learning acts as prime contractor and program administrator. The university's Center for Management and Organizational Development (MOD) has a major role in curriculum development for the academy, and was instrumental in the preliminary task analysis and content planning on which the academy's initial offerings were based.

The academy unites the training capabilities of the county's human resources department with those of a consortium consisting of Northridge, sister CSU campuses at Bakersfield, Dominguez Hills, Long Beach, Los Angeles and Pomona, the Los Angeles community colleges, and the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Formerly called the Los Angeles County Training Academy, the learning academy's expanded mission will include the training of another 10,000 employees during the five years of the renewed CSUN contract.

LACLA offerings, team-taught by university faculty and county staff, include workshops and skills-building courses in critical thinking, business writing and other areas.

County personnel chief Michael Henry said the academy's strategic approach not only delivers customized curricula linking job-related certificate programs to business goals, but creates "a county-wide culture of continuous learning" that helps employees better serve the public.

By May 2005, nearly 2,400 county employees had completed at least one of the academy's 14 certificate programs, which Tseng College Dean Joyce Feucht-Haviar says are evolving from a concept custom-designed for large employee groups to include "more intensive offerings for targeted professionals."

Cited as positive benefits are the networking opportunities generated by the certificate programs' "cohort-based" structure. Employees from the county's 37 departments who graduate from the programs "have formed ongoing networks and continue to share information and advice," according to the status report submitted in support of the county Department of Human Resources (DHR) proposal for contract renewal.

CSUN management professor Alan Glassman, a founding member of the Center for Management and Organization Development, said the board of supervisors recognized the challenges of an increasingly complex service environment when it committed to the program six years ago.

"Today, the academy has received local and national recognition for both the robust nature of its offerings, its ability to support the county's strategic plan, and, perhaps most important, its role in making government more customer-centered," he said. "We are extremely proud that MOD was selected to oversee the academy's program development and that CSUN was chosen as the administrative hub."

LACLA earned the 2002-03 Outstanding Noncredit Program Award from the University Continuing Education Association, an achievement award from the National Association of Counties in 2002, and the Golden Eagle award from the county's Quality and Productivity Commission in 2001.

Media Contacts:
Carmen Ramos Chandler, 818-677-2130

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