State of the College: Enhancing a Thriving Local Economy [Sponsored]

COD: State of the College [Sponsored]

Cathedral City Assistant City Manager Anne Ambrose and Catherine Abbott, executive director of the College of the Desert Foundation.

PALM DESERT — College of the Desert (COD) is proud to create a meaningful economic impact in the Coachella Valley. Through our academic and trade programs, job opportunities, and local business partnerships, we feed the regional workforce. COD is maximizing and expanding these opportunities to ensure our student-to-workforce pipeline flourishes.

In fiscal year 2021-22, COD added $378.1 million in income to the Coachella Valley community through 5,114 jobs. That same year, COD alumni who are currently employed in the regional workforce added $255.7 million to the local economy. Our degree and certificate programs offer a measurable return on investment — for every dollar students invest in their education at COD, they see a return on investment of $52.60. Likewise, for every dollar invested in COD by donors in fiscal year 2021-22, people in California gain a $10.70 return for as long as students remain active in the State workforce.

ASCOD Prez Kelly Merchant, Derick Talay, Savana Zamorez, Christopher and Isaac Zarco (1)

ASCOD President Kelly Merchant, Derick Talay, Savana Zamorez, Christopher and Isaac Zarco

Our programs are especially tailored to meet the Coachella Valley’s growing needs. Currently, we boast 125,000 alumni in the regional workforce, including skilled nurses, firefighters, EMTs, chefs, accountants, and business leaders who consistently give back to our community and generate over $360 million annually into our local economy.

We recently expanded the seats offered in our renowned nursing program by 30 — we can now graduate 80 well-equipped nurses yearly! COD has been approved for a paramedic program, which joins a lineup of highly sought-after public safety degrees and certificates in COD’s Public Safety Academy, including fire technology, police science, and basic peace officer training.

Beyond our programs, COD is creating jobs and more through its resources. The recently completed Child Development Center in Indio will generate $4.85 million in local annual economic impact. Its construction alone generated around $50.2 million, which feeds directly into the local Coachella Valley economy. The Child Development Center also creates 45 new living wage jobs, 36 of which have been slated for low-income persons. When College of the Desert succeeds, we all do.

COD Foundation Chair Diane Rubin 2

COD Foundation Chair Diane Rubin

COD has fostered highly successful partnerships with businesses and community partners that benefit the region. Our long-standing relationships with organizational mentors equip our students to be strong employees with practical career skills. COD is making the most of these partnerships, reconnecting with our valued 125,000 alumni to understand the professional development needs of our Valley’s future workforce. We are continuing thriving mentorships, such as Exquadrums’s support of our STEM program — which led to COD receiving M-Star Grant Funding from NASA. Our students also benefit from other mentor programs, such as Renova Energy’s sustainable energy program to expand our solar installation practice, or Toyota of the Desert’s advocacy for the Roadrunner Automotive skills development program.

Palm Springs COD Campus Aerial Looking West (courtesy of College of the Desert)

With a growing community, COD’s work to enhance the local economy never stops. That’s why the College is expanding at multiple campuses. The Indio Campus expansion is slated to open in the summer of 2025. Once complete, the campus will offer 100,000 square feet of learning space in total. Meanwhile, construction of Roadrunner Motors is on track for breaking ground the summer of 2024 and being completed in December 2025. The facilities will provide a new 25,000-square-foot automotive training center, allowing the program to accommodate up to 100 students at a time in a cohort style. The long-awaited Palm Springs campus breaks ground at the end of 2024, focusing on courses in the booming local hospitality industry.

COD is dedicated to improving the quality of life in the Coachella Valley and surrounding communities. This is Your Community. Your College.

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Image Sources

  • ASCOD Prez Kelly Merchant, Derick Talay, Savana Zamorez, Christopher and Isaac Zarco (1): COD
  • COD Foundation Chair Diane Rubin 2: COD
  • Laura Hope: COD