Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Abigail McMurry, Acting President of Associated Students of Laney College, spoke against last-minute class cancellations at the May 14 Board of Trustees meeting.
Class cancellations, basic needs, and 'flying pigs' at 5/14 meeting for PCCD Trustees
Ian Waters, News Editor • June 1, 2024
Student Trustee Natasha Masand believes her voice has the power to impact the PCCD community.
Student Trustee Natasha Masand finds her voice
Isabelly Sabô Barbosa, Social Media Editor • March 19, 2024
Melanie Dixon appointed CoA President
Melanie Dixon appointed CoA President
After two years of acting appointments, the College of Alameda will finally fill the presidency with a permanent hire this summer
Ivan Saravia, Staff Writer • May 23, 2024
College of Alameda jazz professor Glen Pearson demonstrates his musical talent on his classroom piano. Hes one of the newest members of the Count Basie Orchestra, a historic 18-piece jazz ensemble that took home a Grammy this year.
The humble Grammy-winning pianist leading CoA’s music program
Desmond Meagley, Staff Writer • March 4, 2024

    Guillen takes the reins of District 2

    When we met in his offices for an interview on Jan. 23, Abel Guillen was still unpacking and getting settled into his offices at City Hall. He is the newly elected Oakland City Council Member representing District Two winning his seat in the November 2014 elections. Until his announced candidacy, he served on the Peralta Community Colleges District (PCCD) Board of Trustees for eight years. He intends to use his position on the Council to advocate for Peralta District Community Colleges in general, and Laney College in particular since it is situated in District Two.

    Guillen is very passionate about public education, and its ability to lift individuals out of poverty and low-income status into well-paying positions in professional and high-skills vocations. And the passion is personal: he was the first in his family to graduate from college. He is forever grateful to the public schools that helped him excel academically, and go on to higher education. Very few in his peer circle even had, let alone realized, those aspirations.

    Abel GuillenWith two degrees in Public Policy from UC Berkeley, Guillen is well versed in the mechanics of policymaking and implementation. He acknowledges the enormous challenges that face him in representing Oakland’s District 2, one of the most diverse population mixes in the Bay Area, with constituents of many different ethnicities, education levels, and incomes.

    He welcomes President Obama’s call for free tuition for community college students. However, he believes that limited finances are only one of the barriers facing these students. “Too many of
    our students do not complete their Associate degrees.”

    “Many students enrolled at the Peralta Colleges are ill prepared for advanced studies. We do massive remediation to get students to academic speed, often trying to compensate for years of sub-standard instruction. We take 100% of the top 100% applicants. That wide net includes non-English speakers, individuals living in poverty, and adults who are struggling to feed their families while taking courses, just to name a few.

    In addition to preparing students to move on to four-year college programs, Guillen identifies the growing need for robust vocation training programs that give students hands-on skills they can apply on the job immediately. “These careers in automotive technology, food service, construction, carpentry, and health care offer good wages and employment stability while serving the vital needs of every community.” Guillen enjoyed considerable support from local unions in his bid for City Council, and wants to build stronger ties between PCCD and labor. We agreed that Laney Tower newspaper could be an excellent communication vehicle to help link vocational students directly with employers looking for skilled workers. It could provide a platform for labor leaders to explain and promote beneficial work place policies. “Employers often complain that skilled labor positions are hard to fill. Vocational training needs to step up and prepare workers in very targeted programs so that they can qualify for these jobs.” Guillen added that we need to change our attitudes about vocational careers, and give them the respect they deserve. Today’s highly-skilled blue collar work is “professional” in every sense of the word. Whether it is inventory control in a large warehouse, troubleshooting a car engine for problems, or fabricating parts for machine, specialized training and computers are integral to the work.

    “Oakland’s future is looking very bright, despite some of our problems. I look forward to connecting people with opportunities to improve their own lives. Everyone benefits when that happens.”

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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