Skip to main content

Working Adults Find Success at Cañada College

As school children return to classrooms across the Bay Area, a growing number of working adults are taking their seats at Cañada College thanks to a program aimed at simplifying the process of earning a college degree.

The College for Working Adults began in 2011 and only requires students to attend class one night a week and on Saturdays. Participants earn a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis in Social and Behavioral Science and/or Humanities. It prepares students for a variety of careers related to education, law, social work, business, and politics. It’s funded by Measure G, the parcel tax passed by San Mateo County voters in 2010.

The program’s curriculum is set, classes are guaranteed, and students enter in a cohort with other working adults. That structure is exactly what Michael Piccoli of San Francisco was looking for when he enrolled in the program’s first cohort in 2011.

“The fact that the curriculum is pre-planned to help you obtain your associate’s degree is great,” said Piccoli, 42, who commutes daily to Palo Alto to work at the Stanford Neiman Marcus store. “There’s no thinking involved about what classes you need to take to fulfill your degree requirements.”

Stephanie Culberson
Twenty-seven students enrolled in the first cohort in 2011. That grew to 31 in 2012 but the program’s popularity exploded this fall, with 60 new students enrolled in the third cohort.

“The selling point for me was that I could work full-time and go to school because the professors were being hand-picked specifically for this program and they understood we were working adults with families and responsibilities,” said San Jose’s Sandra Floyd, a mother of four who works for the County of San Mateo. She was part of the first cohort in 2011 and enrolled after not having attended school for 22 years.

Floyd said it was a little nerve racking at the beginning but it became easier as she met classmates. “The cohort allows you to meet and bond with people you might have never had the opportunity to meet. I personally have made friendships with some of my classmates that will remain even after we move on from this program.”

She said the College for Working Adults has motivated her to pursue a bachelor’s degree and, ultimately, a master’s degree. “This program is amazing,” she said. “The professors understand how tired we are from working eight to 10 hours a day, but they make the material so exciting that you tend to forget the rest of your day.”

Menlo Park’s Stephanie Culberson, who works as an administrative associate in the Stanford University School of Business Marketing and Communications, said she watched as many of her coworkers were pursuing degrees. She enrolled in the program’s first cohort and is now on track to complete three associate degrees in May and will transfer to Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. “I plan on using my degree to leverage a Human Resources position at Stanford where I’ve worked for 12-and-a-half years.”

When he’s finished with the College for Working Adults, Piccoli will transfer to San Francisco State University and pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in marketing. “That’s the ultimate goal and it’s very doable for me now because I’ve been in school for a while,” he said. “I want to pursue a job or career in marketing, public relations, or as a creative director.”

David Johnson, Cañada’s Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences, oversees the College for Working Adults. He said helping working adults earn their degree and transform their lives was the goal of the program. “We know it’s a struggle to work eight hours a day and then attend class at night,” he said. “We wanted to make the process as simple as possible.”


Popular posts from this blog

Join us for Artistry in Fashion on Saturday, Sept. 28

Have you ever dreamed about being a fashion designer? Do you enjoy the fun and creativity that goes into designing beautiful clothing? If you are a fashionista – or even if you’re not, come join us at Cañada College on Saturday, Sept. 28 from 10 am to 4 pm for the 22nd annual Artistry in Fashion event.

Since 1991, the Cañada College Fashion Department has hosted Artistry in Fashion, bringing together fashion lovers, students, faculty, and premier local designers and fabric artists for an exciting day of fashion and creativity, all for the benefit of student scholarships and materials. Don’t miss a dazzling fashion show by esteemed fashion educator and Director of the Center for Pattern Design, Sandra Ericson. Learn what it takes to become a fashion designer from Cañada's acclaimed fashion instructors. You'll also have the opportunity to buy clothing, jewelry, and other fashions on sale from more than 60 local designers.

Admission is only $10 and benefits the Canada College Fashio…

Alaa Aissi Awarded Prestigious Scholarship

2014 Cañada Graduate Alaa Aissi has been awarded the Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholarship from UC Berkeley. The scholarship is the most prestigious and the highest honor awarded by the university to an undergraduate. It attracts, retains, and graduates the most sought-after students in the world. After the pool of over 90,000 Cal applicants is thoroughly reviewed, only the top 1 percent of incoming students are invited to be interviewed by Berkeley faculty. From there only two hundred students receive the scholarship. Benefits of the scholarship include a Faculty Mentor, research fellowship opportunity, further networking with faculty and fellow scholars throughout their academic careers, along with a monetary award. Upon receiving this honor, Alaa expressed, “I am humbled by the opportunity to have received this scholarship and to be a part of the Regents’ and Chancellor¹s Scholars Association. I am looking forward to being lauded at the Chancellor¹s residence at this fall’s recept…

Learning English Led to a New Life for Redwood City’s Patricia Segura

After moving from Mexico five years ago, Patricia Segura knew she would have to master English to stay in the United States, find a job, and fulfill her goal of studying to become a nurse. But without command of the language, going to college seemed impossible.

“When I decided to stay in this country, I wanted to keep studying as I was doing in my country,” she said. “Learning English became a new short-term goal in my life. I wanted to study English in college but I had to start from the beginning.”

She began taking community-based English courses offered by Cañada College at Sequoia High School. Later she moved to John Gill Elementary School to take a course because her nephew was in the class. When she finished her course at John Gill, Segura’s professor helped her sign up for the first level of English as a Second Language at Cañada College.

“When I started at Cañada, my goal was to learn English to find a job,” she said. “Now I'm pursuing my goal of becoming a nurse. The more I …