For immediate release: 06/27/96
Contact: Margie Yu,
Public Affairs Assistant
to launch a Cultural Competence Certificate Program
Los Angeles, California -- June 27, 1996 -- Building on the successes of existing campus community service activities and programs, California State University, Los Angeles has recently been awarded a five-year grant totaling more than $587,000 from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to develop a Certificate Program in Cultural Competency. The Cultural Competence Certificate Program has two components: one for non-profit agency professionals and volunteers; the other for University students.
According to the Kellogg Foundation, CSLA was chosen for the grant on the basis of its location within a multicultural community, the diversity of its student population, its well-established presence in and collaborative ventures with the diverse Los Angeles area communities and the extent of its past and present commitments to community service. Well-suited to offer the education and training needed to provide effective services to people from a variety of diverse cultures, the University developed a winning program for the proposal.
The program establishes a training model that will prepare professional staff, volunteers, board members and other employees in non-profit service agencies to become culturally sensitive, effective providers. To achieve this goal the program includes a 10-week experience in which students will reside in culturally different homes while volunteering in the day time at non-profit youth-serving and social service agencies. Other expected outcomes are increased community empowerment and motivation for students to return to their communities to work or volunteer in social service capacities.
"This type of training is fundamental for students in Social Work, Youth Agency Administration, Nursing, Criminal Justice, Education, Communication Studies and virtually all the Health Sciences," says Principal Investigator Ruth Wu, former Dean of the CSLA School of Health and Human Services and Emerita Professor of Nursing. "Health and social service professionals need diversity instruction in cross-cultural communication and interpersonal skills, problem-solving and conflict resolution to address the complex problems of violence, alcohol and drug abuse, teen pregnancy and at-risk behaviors that lead to sexually-transmitted diseases."
Wu, a San Gabriel resident, continues, "Traditional college curricula have not provided non-profit service agency personnel with the tools and skills necessary to be sufficiently prepared to work within multicultural and diversely stratified communities. Nor have they taught students how to adapt to inner-city youth and to those from the very communities in which the service organizations habitually exist."
"Because organizational flexibility and cultural sensitivity is often lacking," adds Marcel Soriano, Associate Professor of Education and one of the CSLA faculty contributing to the project, "the effect of inadequate training has often led to delivery of ineffective services."
This fall CSLA is targeting an enrollment of 20 students to the first student Certificate Program. Each student will be assigned to a family from a different culture and to an agency partner, such as Boy Scouts, YMCA, Boys and Girls Club, and Red Cross. Students will be recruited from all disciplines; however, the majority is expected to come from health, education and social service majors.
The Certificate Program targeted for University students will be phased in as part of the regular course offerings as the grant is gradually reduced. The Certificate Program, targeted for the professional and volunteers employed in the social service sector and developed with W.K. Kellogg Foundation support, will be offered after the first year through the CSLA Office of Continuing Education. A major emphasis of the project will be an evaluation of the strategies used in the model and dissemination of the findings to a national audience.
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation was established in 1930 to "help people help themselves through the practical application of knowledge and resources to improve their quality of life and that of future generations." Its programming activities center around the common visions of a world in which each person has a sense of worth; accepts responsibility for self, family, community, and societal well-being; and has the capacity to be productive and to help create nurturing families, responsive institutions, and healthy communities.
To achieve the greatest impact, the Foundation targets its grants toward specific focal points or areas. These include: health care; food systems and rural development; youth and education, and higher education; and philanthropy and volunteerism. A developing theme is technology. When woven throughout these areas, funding also is provided for leadership; information systems; efforts to capitalize on diversity; and family, neighborhood, and community development programming. Grants are concentrated in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean, and southern Africa.
For more information on the grant or the Certificate Program, call the CSLA Research and Sponsored Programs office, (323) 343-5366.