Barstow Community College’s New CTE Complex Provides Permanent Home for Programs

At Barstow Community College, when one door closes, a new, upgraded CTE facility opens.  

In January, the highly anticipated Career and Technical Education Complex finally opened its doors to students, giving them a well-equipped, spacious space to be proud of.  

“We had temporary spaces for a couple of years, so it’s definitely nice to have our own place,” says James Lee, the Associate Dean of CTE at Barstow Community College.  

“When we would host campus tours, usually they would either visit the off-campus site or come to campus — it usually wouldn’t be both,” explains Lee. “Now, we’re starting to host tours. It really gives us the opportunity to give students a strong representation of everything that we offer here.”  

The new CTE Complex includes fully equipped workshops for Automotive Technology and Diesel Technology programs, two classrooms, a fully equipped open lab for Electrical and Industrial Maintenance programs, along with administration offices and a conference room. 

Students in the trade-focused programs get the chance to practice comprehensive techniques using state-of-the-art equipment. The hands-on learning is essential for CTE students in order to get the necessary career certifications for success in the field.  

“Being able to lay out the CTE Complex from the ground-up has allowed us to incorporate all of the modern advancements in technology into our programs,” explains Automotive instructor, Mark Weller.

“The students are benefiting by being able to quickly access and interact with equipment to advance their knowledge.”

The Automotive program curriculum is aligned with Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certifications. To be certified as automotive service technicians and mechanics, electronic equipment installers, and diesel engine specialists, hands-on experience with this industry-standard equipment is essential.  

“They were very limited without the lifts and a lot of the bigger equipment used in the labs such as tire machines, brake lathes, alignment machines and other equipment” continues Lee about the automotive-focused courses.

“The big thing is giving students a space where they can actually do the lab work that’s required for these programs.”

The certifications don’t stop with automotive-focused curriculum. Lee adds, “We actually have embedded certifications that require hands-on performance testing for our industrial maintenance and electrical programs.”  

The inception for the facility launched in early 2020, when planning began alongside Barstow CTE faculty. After a few initial delays and some step-backs due to the pandemic, construction for the complex finally broke ground and wrapped up just in time for the 2023 Spring semester.   

With dedicated rooms for lecture halls and labs, Industrial Maintenance and Electrical program instructor Toby Hill says the new facilities are shaping each Barstow CTE program to reach their full potential.

“Students are excited about the professional atmosphere and are more intrigued in the programs,” notes Hill. “As an instructor, I’m proud of our facility and we can manage our workload more efficiently.” 

“These buildings will provide a space for excellent trades education,” states Dr. Crystal Nasio, Executive Dean of Strategic Partnerships & Workforce Development. “Our hope is to bring awareness and enthusiasm for the trades back to the community.

“There is a lot of economic development in the works here in Barstow.” 

Not only is there an increasing demand for trade-focused professionals throughout the region, but an upcoming BNSF Railway development for the Barstow International Gateway is bringing focus to the Mojave Desert. The $1.5 billion, state-of-the-art distribution rail facility is planning to introduce about 20,000 direct and indirect jobs in the area.  

“BNSF is once again making a huge investment into the community,” notes Dr. Nasio. “We have been in partnership with them for years providing welding training to their incumbent workers. We know that the economic boom coming to Barstow is an opportunity for BCC to rapidly respond through short-term training that can provide the foundation for a lifetime career.”  

Not to mention, with the 20,000 projected regional jobs, additional future economic developments are possible. Whether these developments include housing, hospitals, construction, or schools, BCC is equipping their students to be well-prepared for the upcoming opportunities.  

“We are ready and excited for this next phase for BCC Career and Technical Education,” proudly states Lee.

Dr. Nasio adds, “BCC is prepared to partner with private, public and non-profit organizations to provide the best resources and services to our community.” 

Learn more about CTE programs at Barstow Community College by visiting their website 



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