Appliance unplugged?

Program in need of repair


Krys Shahin

Student Marlene Lopez (left), Steve Lowery and Instructor Debra Winckler go over how to fix a washer.

Krys Shahin, @Krysshah

As a result of a projected lower rate of increase in the job market for technicians — just a 2 percent expected rate of growth — the Career Technical Education Appliance program has been up for review, and could be discontinued based on data collected by management and Workforce Development.

“[The CTE Appliance program] is being looked at,” for revitalization or discontinuance according to Nikki Moultrie, dean of CTE and Social Sciences.

The lab hours for the program have already been cut in hopes that less of a time commitment for students might increase enrollment, but the lab component of the program is something students need in order to learn.

“I’m a physical learner, I have to be hands on. If I look at a book, it’ll put me to sleep,” said student Noberto Augliar.

The potential that the program will be shut down is a concern to program manager Debra Winckler and students.

“My program is on the chopping block. Enrollment was low so we started to make changes to make enrollment better,”  said Winckler. “I’m still fighting for the program because I believe it is such a good career choice for people.”

The appliance program has been with LMC since spring 1974 when Leonard Price created it long before he retired in the summer of 2016.

“We have always had strong working relations with major appliance manufacturers and service companies. The first partnership was being a national training center for Maytag, West Coast Training Center for Whirlpool where students from all over the country came for training,” he said, adding they also partnered with Sears Appliance to retrain technicians to work on all brands of appliances.

“I know how the appliance program was doing before I left and my concern is what happened. All of a sudden it’s being eliminated,” said Price. “When you bring in new faculty into a one person program where they are now program lead and completely change the way the program has been offered successfully for 40 years with little support it makes it difficult to succeed.”

The job market numbers being used to make decisions about the program were collected using multiple sources, like IMES and O*NET that tracks trends for the next five years and makes projections based on those trends.

David Wahl, who works in the Workforce Development, said the information shows the current job market, what the trends are, the demographics, the money people make, how many people are estimated to retire, and whether the market is growing or shrinking among other statistical data.

“There needs to be more time to get a program built up when you bring in new faculty who have not have not worked in the system,” said Price. “I think with some help, the program can be changed to accommodate the needs of LMC students.”

But according to Moultrie, LMC is, “the last of 114 community colleges in California to have this program.”

While it is currently in the process of going through revitalization or discontinuance, the school has plans for the area where it is currently held.

“We are looking at making that space [CTE Appliance lab area] more multiuse, to meet industry needs and make it more nimble,” said Moultrie.

Programs such as the “HVAC, construction pre-apprentice… maker space, fabrication technologies and similar programs,” will be able to use the area in time, said Dean of Workforce and Economic Development Natalie Hannum.

Money was allocated for classroom renovation in the CTE area, two faculty offices and an update to the auto facility and equipment, and that was completed in summer 2017. The second phase will be focused on revitalizing the CTE space and will cost almost $3 million.

“This project will update the IT infrastructure, electrical, ventilation, sprinkler systems, lighting and open up the space for multiple uses.  This project is scheduled to begin in summer 2020,” said Hannum.