By AMBER MYRICK
District Director of Marketing, Communications, and Public Information
Contributing Writer

In a landmark event held on March 4 at the Firebaugh Center, West Hills College Coalinga (WHCC) and Fresno Pacific University (FPU) officially unveiled their innovative educational partnership, marking a significant milestone in their commitment to enhancing learning opportunities and academic resources in the region. The ceremony, attended by community leaders, faculty, students, and media partners, highlighted the collaboration’s aim to create seamless educational pathways and foster academic innovation.

The event celebrated the collaboration’s mission to create seamless educational pathways and foster academic innovation, particularly in areas where access to higher education has traditionally been limited. Dr. Carla Tweed, President of West Hills College Coalinga, and AndrĂ© Stephens, Ph.D. President of Fresno Pacific University signed the agreement, symbolizing the commitment to transforming the educational and economic landscape of the region.

West Hills College Coalinga and its Firebaugh Center are uniquely positioned to serve a geographically remote service area where 24 percent of residents live in poverty, 62 percent have less than a high school diploma, and 97 percent have less than a BA/BS degree. This partnership addresses these challenges by providing accessible, high-quality educational pathways that lead to meaningful employment and economic upliftment.

“This partnership stands as a beacon of hope for our community,” said Tweed. “Together with Fresno Pacific University, we are breaking down educational barriers and opening up new avenues for success for our students, many of whom are the first in their families to attend college.”

The collaboration between WHCC and FPU is a strategic move to enhance the educational experience for students, offering them more significant support and access to a broad spectrum of academic programs and resources. This initiative is particularly critical in areas where educational attainment levels are significantly below the national average.

“Our collaboration is founded on a shared vision of making education accessible to all, regardless of their background or circumstances,” said Stephens. “We are committed to creating a future where every student has the opportunity to achieve their fullest potential.”

This partnership between West Hills College Coalinga Firebaugh Center and Fresno Pacific University is a significant step towards leveling the educational playing field, providing hope and opportunity to a region poised for transformation.

The Westside Express