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District Home » Dacum » Health » Facilitating Student Success of Special Populations


This report is a result of a focus group conducted during November 2001 as part of a Vocational Training and Education grant from the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office.  The purpose of the focus group was to brainstorm ideas, recommendations and activities used by the participants: instructors, administrators and staff who are part of special populations programs at community colleges and/or other educational organizations. 

The goal was to identify and describe effective ways for Health Occupation programs to facilitate the success of students from special populations.  Special populations were defined as individuals with disabilities, individuals from economically disadvantaged families, individuals preparing for nontraditional training and employment, single parents, including single pregnant women, displaced homemakers, and individuals with other barriers to educational achievement, including individuals with limited-English proficiency. 

The recommendations are in priority order with the top or most important methods listed first. The last group of recommendations were provided in response to specific barriers identified by the focus group.


  • Develop and Conduct Life Skills workshops/classes (1 semester)

Teach family finances, how to navigate the health care system, explain eligibilities, study skills and the Campus system's nuts and bolts.

  • Create Ways to Provide Students Access to Key Industry Standard Equipment

Have manufactures/industry staff donate time and equipment to colleges.

  • Recruit Volunteers for Tutoring/Mentoring

Include military personnel.

  • Educate Campus on Spectrum of Disabilities (including non-visible)

Include students as well as faculty and staff.

  •  Make Resources Easily accessible to Disabled Student Programs and Services

  • Facilitate All Required Licenses/Health Exams

Can be provided at a lower price on campus, have Nurse Practitioners do exams.

  • Establish Workability Programs

  • Place a Department of Rehabilitation Counselor on Campus

Will assist students to prepare and search for jobs.

  • Establish Resume Bank Statewide through Chancellor's Office

  • Include Companies Listing Jobs on Campus Website

  • Offer Employee Incentives to Hire Special Population Students

  • Offer Paid Internships

  • Encourage Greater Collaboration with County, City, and State Agencies

  • Promote Community Programs and Services that are Available

  • Provide Statewide 'Helpline' for Community College Students

  • Streamline Resources and Opportunities

Recruit and hire one person who knows available resources, develop web page for resources with links to Transportation, Childcare, etc. and increase staff's knowledge of resources as well as students.

  • Offer Field Trips

  • Conduct Activities/Intrinsic Learning for Employment

  • Post Universal Signs for Accessibility throughout Campus

  • Establish a 'Drop By' Information Booth on Campus

Staff with paid students (organized by student body).

  • Provide Roving Staff with Maps to Assist Students

Important at beginning of school year, they could wear 'need help, ask me' buttons.

  • Conduct Tours of Campus

  • Establish Student Health Services

Funded by student health fees, offer extended hours of service for emergency services to students and staff, required hearing and vision tests, blood pressure screening and classroom presentations on health-related topics.



  • Subsidize transportation for students

  • Offer free bus passes for students

  • Coordinate car pooling to/from campus

  • Establish Transportation Department on campus

  • Recommend public policy change to allow students to ride free on public transportation

   Campus Resources

  • Provide assistive technology to all

  • Mandate physical accommodations for lab classes

  • Allow time to understand non-English speaking students

  • Offer financial assistance for single parents

  • Provide resources/funding to pay for books, accommodations, childcare

  • Provide adequate resources for all populations

  • Offer support groups for special populations to reduce intimidating environment of campuses

  • Provide required interpreter services

  • Fund students directly for basic needs (food, transportation, etc.)

  • Maintain updated resource information for faculty/staff

  • Use the Community College Foundations to find and write grants with faculty and staff input

  • Research and post high demand, high wage jobs

  • Actively recruit students for training in high wage jobs

  • Subsidize certain students to go through school, then work to pay it off

  • Provide 100% of students with access to and proficiency with computers

   Comprehensive Orientation

  • Teach and empower students to know and understand their rights

  • Provide accommodations and where/how to access them for classes

  • Provide adequate staffing for continuity

  • Conduct Rights and Responsibility classes for all special population students

  • Provide information on "navigating systems" to all students with resource guide/reference materials


  • Establish Mentor programs (linking 2nd year students with 1st year students)

  • Customize matching/pairing of mentors and students

  • Arrange for students with disabilities to work with other students

  • Research grants to establish mentoring programs

  • Establish funds and pay student tutors

  • Provide on-campus academic advising and tutoring

   Child Care

  • Establish on-campus childcare (use CalWORKs recipients to staff)

  • Design statewide program on childcare

  • Create daycare initiatives on campus

  • Offer subsidized, reliable childcare with nontraditional hours 

Focus Group Participants:
Betty Bacon - San Diego University, Disabled Student Programs and Services
Jennifer Bird - County of San Diego, Health & Human Services
Marlene Jansky - Grossmont College, Disabled Student Program & Services
Rick Kirby - Grossmont College, Instructor, Cardiovascular Technology
Stan Schroeder, Grossmont College, Leadership and Economic Development Institute

Focus Group Leaders:
Susan Madison ,Consultant
Peter Mirche, Grossmont College Instructor

  Informational Chart on the Focus Members

Developed and published under contract 01-005-002 with the California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office, State of California. Permission is hereby granted to reproduce this work, in whole or part, for classroom or curriculum use only. This work is exclusively the product of the Statewide Special Project Collaborative in Health Occupations operated by Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District and does not necessarily reflect the policy of the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges. This project is being implemented in association with the Statewide Health Occupations Advisory Committee.

  • Grossmont
  • Cuyamaca
A Member of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District