Published in the September 28 – October 11, 2016 issue of Morgan Hill Life

By John Horner


John Horner

The Morgan Hill Chamber of Commerce and Gavilan Community College are working closely together on multiple projects, including producing a new Distinguished Speakers series to provide deeper knowledge and perspective to members of our community. Our first topic is “Perspectives on American Political History.” The panelists will include highly knowledgeable and engaging experts from multiple disciplines and the opportunity for them to respond to some audience questions.

Gavilan College is serious about increasing their value to Morgan Hill, and we are proud to partner with them in that mission. Some of the topics we have in mind for future sessions include educational innovation and the social and technical effects of the “Internet of Things.” If you have ideas for topics which are timely and compelling, let us know and they will be considered for inclusion in the series at a future date. We anticipate producing about four such events per year.

Gavilan is also a key job training and re-training resource for our region, and many people do not seem to be aware of the opportunities Gavilan makes available at a very modest cost. One such program is the Aviation Technology program located at the San Martin airport. Students learn aluminum and composite airframe technologies along with piston and jet engine maintenance. Graduates are highly sought after for job paying starting salaries in the $70k/year range after only two years of study.

Another recently added program focuses on water and wastewater technologies. This increasingly sophisticated set of professions offers outstanding career opportunities as the need for technicians increase just as many of the current professionals in those industries are preparing to retire. Gavilan worked closely with the Santa Clara Valley Water District on the program’s design and graduates are able to get excellent paying jobs after two years or less of study (

These are but two of the many career education areas already up and running at Gavilan, and more are in the works. Toward that end, the Chamber of Commerce will be facilitating conversations bringing large local businesses together with educational experts to determine what kinds of programs can be developed to meet the needs of businesses for well qualified workers while giving individuals the opportunity to make a good living. We have good jobs going unfilled and at the same time we have people without the needed skills to get those jobs struggling to pay their bills. Appropriate education and training opportunities create the proverbial “win-win” scenario for everyone involved. Being part of the solution is fun!

John Horner in the president and CEO of the Morgan Hill Chamber of Commerce. Reach him at (408) 779-9444.