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Imperial Valley College Unveils Lithium Training Programs

-Editorial

The County of Imperial and Imperial Valley College (IVC)  joined forces to introduce new lithium training programs focused at giving local talent the skills needed to secure well-paying jobs in the rapidly expanding lithium industry. At a press conference held on May 1, officials unveiled the second phase of IVC’s initiatives, focusing on the upcoming Chemical Technician Program set to begin in Fall 2024.

“IVC is dedicated to creating the jobs for tomorrow. We are steadfast in our commitment to build pathways for success for every single person in our community,” said Dr. Dr. Lennor M. Johnson, President/Superintendent of Imperial Valley College.

Imperial County Supervisor District 1 Jesus Eduardo Escobar said this was the beginning of an opportunity for Imperial Valley residents to have a good-paying job and career locally.

“We have a lot of our students leaving the valley because of the lack of jobs and opportunities,” Escobar said. “This is a step in the right direction by offering these career opportunities so that people can prosper in our county.”

These programs stem from industry requests for short-term certificate programs tailored to address specific industry needs, said Efrain Silva, Dean of Economic & Workforce Development. Focusing on practical, hands-on training and internships, the curriculum aims to equip participants with the necessary expertise to thrive in lithium-related roles.

IVC’s lithium training programs include a spectrum of specialized roles, including Plant Operator, Chemical Lab Technician, and Instrumentation Technician. Each program provides fundamental instruction crucial for navigating the intricacies of lithium production and processing.

The Chemical Lab Technician program encompasses a comprehensive curriculum designed to instill core competencies essential for success in laboratory settings. Through courses like Chem 082, students will delve into scientific methodologies, hypothesis development, experimentation, and data interpretation.

IVC offers two distinct pathways for aspiring laboratory professionals: a traditional Chemistry AA degree, a two-year program transferable to institutions like the University of California and California State University, and the streamlined Chemical Technician program, a one-year certification course.

This press conference was held a day after California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the state has awarded $120 million in tax credits to eight innovative companies. It will generate more than 2,100 full-time jobs with an average annual salary of over $100,000 and bring in an estimated $15.5 billion in private investment over the next five years.

Governor Newsom Said: “California’s economy is the fifth largest in the world and we’re supporting workers and businesses as they reach success. This funding will help businesses create good-paying jobs — from steel manufacturing in Kern County to sustainable lithium production in Imperial Valley — and support the state’s economic dominance for years to come.”

The funding, from the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development’s (GO-Biz) California Competes program, is going to companies expanding their operations in California and supporting the type of cutting-edge industries that are the hallmark of the Golden State.

Controlled Thermal Resources received a $30 million tax credit to help construct a facility near the Salton Sea to sustainably extract lithium and other critical minerals from geothermal brine in Imperial County. In exchange for this tax credit, the company is expected to make capital investments of more than $14.7 billion and create nearly 450 new, full-time jobs in Calipatria and Imperial.

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