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North Long Beach opens new education center offering tuition-free courses

The center offers workforce training, an open-use computer lab, free classes, support for entrepreneurs and more.

North Long Beach opens new education center offering tuition-free courses
Mayor Rex Richardson unveils the new North Long Beach Higher Education Center and its new mural, painted by artist Misael Vera. Photo by Jackie Rae

To enhance access to higher education in North Long Beach, the city has teamed up with Long Beach City College to open the new North Long Beach Higher Education Center.

Mayor Rex Richardson said a study that listed LBCC as the third choice among local students deciding on a community college sparked the idea for the center.

“We saw the data that students from Long Beach, Jordan, were going to Compton College first, which is right on our border. Then Cerritos College," he said.

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The center, meant to address the community’s educational needs, is a collaborative project between the city of Long Beach, Long Beach City College and the Department of Economic Development.

Vivian Malauulu, president of the LBCC District Board of Trustees, emphasized the goal to restore community focus in the college.

“I want to put community back in community college,” She said. “We will provide resources that they need here; access that they need here to make their educational goals attainable.”

The center offers tuition-free non-credit courses, entrepreneurial support for small businesses, workforce training, and a computer lab open for public use. Ninth District Councilwoman Joni Ricks-Oddie described the center as part of the city's broader commitment to its residents.

"We're in an exclusive agreement right now with LBCC for the lot North of Michelle Obama Library. It's going to be housing and classroom space," Ricks-Oddie said. She noted the facility would serve not only young students but also parents and adults, with child care available.

The center also features a mural created by artist Misael Vera, commissioned by the Puente Latino Association.

Vera, a resident making his debut as a muralist, said, “If you look at the mural, it reflects everybody who lives in this neighborhood."

Vera said his goal was to highlight the resilience of the North Long Beach community and hopes everyone who sees it will feel a sense of pride. He hopes they are inspired to follow their dreams.

"They're all working," he said. "But they're not miserable. They're prideful of what they do. And that's what I wanted to show. "

Located at 635 E. South Street, the North Long Beach Higher Education Center operates Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. More information about the center is available on the LBCC website.

Column: How I contributed to a Pulitzer win

Fernando Haro • May 6, 2024

Local news publication Lookout Santa Cruz won a Pulitzer Prize today for its coverage of multiple storms that caused catastrophic flooding in Santa Cruz County in January 2023. I was part of that team. Here’s how that happened. My journalism career began just six years ago after I enrolled in El Camino College …

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