Pasadena City College Leads LA County Community College EWD Conversation

Pam Sornson, JD

November 1, 2022

Pasadena City College (PCC) is not a randomly chosen location for the November 8th, 2022, Future of Work Conference (FOW). For years, PCC leadership has focused on building a ‘workforce development’ campus by designing and implementing programs to support its student body and corporate neighbors. Today’s leaders, Superintendent/President Dr. Erica Endrijonas and Vice President, Economic and Workforce Development Salvatrice Cummo, are carrying that effort forward by hosting events like the FOW conference and engaging with all entities involved in the Los Angeles County and Southern California economic development sector. Their individual and unique histories combine to create an insightful, informed, and inspiring team, fully capable of driving forward the complex network of regional and state-based EWD initiatives.

 

Salvatrice Cummo

Gathering together assemblies of experts to address the hard issues facing Community College constituents is a skill that comes naturally to Salvatrice Cummo, Vice President of the Economic and Workforce Development division (EWD) at Pasadena City College (PCC). Economic growth and corporate development have been her focus throughout her career, and she’s now well-versed in virtually every avenue and nuance of the business and industry infrastructure.

Cummo took leadership of the EWD division in late 2017, having led its Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for four years prior to that, and directing the business development activities of the Montebello Chamber of Commerce for six years before that. With a Bachelor’s degree focused on commerce and a Master’s degree focused on entrepreneurship and innovation, her expertise is fueled by both education and experience.

PCC’s EWD and its connections with local, regional, and statewide economic development partners have grown significantly during her tenure:

The division itself has expanded with the addition of the Robert G. Freeman Center for Career and Completion, the Workforce Training Center, the PCC Extension, the Los Angeles Regional Consortium (LARC), and curricula that fulfill mandates directed by Perkins grants and California’s Strong Workforce Program.

Cummo is an active member of the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC), the LA Tech Talent Pipeline, the Bixel Exchange, and the San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership (SGVEP).

In partnership with the PCC foundation, she launched the first-ever “Business Council” to bring together leadership from national and international corporations with established connections to the LA industrial community. She is also responsible for launching the “Startup Collaborative,” a group of businesses, think tanks, and economic and workforce laboratories, to contribute to developing and designing labor force-focused educational systems.

Cummo also serves as PCC’s liaison to California’s state government, where she interacts with a network of initiatives and programs, including those centered on Adult Education, Apprenticeships, Economic and Workforce Development, the Perkins grants, and the Strong Workforce Program.

As moderator of the November 8th FOW conference, Cummo will guide the panelists through discussions about how to break down barriers to work-based learning opportunities.

 

Dr. Erica Endrijonas

Optimizing opportunity appears to be a hallmark of Dr. Erica Endrijonas, Superintendent/President of Pasadena City College (PCC). As an alum of Cal State Northridge, she has benefited directly from the State’s commitment to affordable higher education. As the first openly gay president of PCC, Dr. Endrijonas is also uniquely familiar with societal barriers that impede forward progress for marginalized populations. Consequently, she is determined to ensure that California’s community colleges continue their role as drivers for social mobility for all community members.

Having worked through several positions in the California Community College system, Dr. Endrijonas assumed her role as PCC president in the Fall of 2019. She brought with her 20 years of teaching and administrative experience:

While at CSU, Dominguez Hills, she served as Dean and taught several humanities courses (including Literature and the Rights of Women, Success and Values in the United States, and Death and Dying). She continued on at Santa Barbara City College as Dean of Educational Programs and overseer of that school’s Business, Health and Human Services, and Technologies divisions. She served as Executive Vice President at Oxnard Community College and Los Angeles Valley College President before taking her position in Pasadena.

In addition to teaching and administrating, Endrijonas also sat on several boards of directors, including those for the community college system’s Chief Instructional Officers, Chief Student Services Officers, and the Association for Occupational Education. She participated in numerous economic and social organizations, including the Valley Industry and Commerce Association and the Valley Economic Alliance. Her work as chair of the California Community College Athletic Association reflects her love of football, and she was an active advocate and Co-chair for the National LGBTQ Presidents in Higher Education Board.

Her tenure as president of PCC began only months before the COVID-19 pandemic emerged. Applying her usual determination and ingenuity, Dr. Endrijonas was diligent about hygiene and sanitation standards, physical safety standards, and, eventually, vaccination protocols and mandates. By February 2022, COVID testing on campus revealed a positivity rate of only 1.8%, compared to LA County’s 12.5% rate.

As the immediate threat of the pandemic recedes, Dr. Endrijonas is turning her full focus to PCC’s new role as the Coordinator of the Los Angeles Regional Consortium (LARC) and all the opportunities that the new status conveys. The LARC is a collective of Los Angeles County’s 19 community colleges, and its purpose is to coordinate the EWD efforts of all schools to align with local and regional labor and workforce demands. PCC’s role as LARC Coordinator will impact EWD efforts across LA County and influence the lives of thousands of community college students. Endrijonas’s education and experience in workforce development and Community College success will serve her and her school well as that initiative rolls out.

 

Dr. Endrijonas will open the FOW conference with welcoming remarks.

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