Cancelled classes at Las Positas College are not an uncommon occurrence. Whether due to low funds or low enrollment, divisions have been forced to remove classes in order to maintain some sort of stability.
Such is the case with both the Internship and LaPTechS programs at LPC.
One provides internship opportunities for students, and the other helps to repair PCs belonging to both students and faculty.
Because of the need for other classes with higher enrollment and higher funds, however, both will be cut in the fall semester.
“I think it’s a real travesty that both of these classes are being cut,” Leslie Gravino, Work Based Learning Coordinator, said. “It’s not about me teaching and my future. It’s about the worthiness.”
Since 2000, Las Positas Technical Support (LaPTechS) has been fixing PCs for students and faculty, and has been expanding into the community.
It originally began with a little nudge from grants but is now a self-sustaining programs.
“It’s a student run business in the form of a class. All the students here are working on repairing computers for students and staff of the college,” Gravino said.
The price is $20 for students and faculty, with a $50 expedited price. This is cheaper than going to Best Buy, and many of the same services are included.
The money made goes to sustain the business and is used for purchasing necessary supplies such as external hard drives for back up purposes.
The benefit of LaPTechS doesn’t just have to do with its budget — it also teaches students how to manage leadership roles.
After being enrolled in the class for one semester, students can be promoted to mentor roles and begin to help plan out shift schedules.
They also learn hands on experience.
Some students don’t gain from pure lectures and only learn when they apply what they’ve heard to real life scenarios.
“Even the instructors (of the lecture classes) will tell you that it doesn’t teach the realities of hands on experience,” David Wiener, LPC student with a leadership position in LaPTechS, said. “The only way that you get that is by doing it. They get to work on computers in real life. They get to work in context of business environment.”
The LaPTechS program is not alone in its cancellation. The Internship program will also disappear after this semester.
Around 30 students take the class every semester. Gravino, as the head of the program, receives about three employer request forms a week from employers looking for student interns. These internship opportunities can range from interior design to business administration and are listed on the LPC website.
Many employers require that students be enrolled in an internship program. Surprisingly, LPC is one of the only community colleges in the area that provides an internship program. This will change in the fall.
“The very sad thing is that internships are a way to get a job. In this economy, we know that people who have internships have a better chance of getting a job than those who don’t,” Gravino said. “Many employers will not hire students as an intern unless they’re enrolled in a class because we carry the liability insurance. It’s really bad.”
While there may be some value to both classes, the truth of the matter is that the school cannot continue to keep them running. Other classes receive higher priority.
In the future, businesses will have to look elsewhere to fill their open internship positions. And if you have a computer to be fixed, Best Buy may just be your best — and only — option.