Human Capital in Mammoth Lakes, CA
Human capital can be defined as the general education background, labor market experience, artistic development and appreciation, health, and other skills and experiences a community has (Green & Haines, 2016). The education background of individuals as well as employment and skills serves as a basis for which we can generate a decent understanding of the assets this community has and how to improve them.
Mammoth Lakes, CA is not an area known for its educational endeavors however the area boasts a great school system from grades K-12 in the Mammoth Unified School District. In fact, 83.8% of the population is a high school graduate or higher. (U.S. Census Bureau, 2014). Mammoth is also one of the locations for Cerro Coso Community College, at the Eastern Sierra College Center (ESCC). For this reason, Mono County boasts that 34.9% of the population has a bachelor’s degree of higher. (U.S. Census Bureau, 2014). However, when you look at the employment status of the population you will see that 65.7% of those in the labor force are living below the poverty level. This is because while ESCC is a great location for those wishing to continue their education, their programs and space are limited. Out of the total employed population in Mammoth (6,407) there are 1,255 individuals working in educational services, and health care, as well as 1,799 working in arts, entertainment, recreation, and food services (U.S. Census Bureau, 2014). While ESCC does offer Vocational nursing, emergency medical technician and other human service programs, many of them are simply certificate based and are not a full degree (Cerro Coso Community College , n.d.). This is extremely beneficial however it would be even better for civilians to be earning actual degrees and staying in Mammoth Lakes for employment. It also could mean that many of those occupied in the higher paying positions are getting their education outside of Mammoth and moving there for work. A great solution to this problem would be to bring higher education to Mammoth Lakes.
By bringing in a college town environment, with a school that offers many diverse and professional level degrees it would encourage not only an increase in occupation and salary levels, but also for individuals to go to Mammoth for college, and stay there for work. One community based organization attempting to do just that is the Mammoth Lakes Foundation, founded by Dave McCoy in 1989. (Mammoth Lakes Foundation, n.d.). McCoy and a few of his friends understood that the cost of college was often a great barrier for families in Mammoth Lakes and decided to create this non-profit to help young adults receive the guidance, and funding necessary to continue their education. “The Dean of the Eastern Sierra branch campuses, Deanna Campbell, continues to work tirelessly to expand degree and certificate programs every year. Students can earn an AA degree in a number of disciplines and have their credits fully transferred to a UC, Cal State, or to University of Nevada Reno.” (Mammoth Lakes Foundation, n.d.). With this, the hope is to bring students a full two years of college through a full scholarship right there in their home town of Mammoth Lakes and continue to grow the human capital in the area.
Cerro Coso Community College . (n.d.). Eastern Sierra College Center. Retrieved November 2, 2016, from Cerro Coso Community College: https://www.cerrocoso.edu/escc
Green, G. P., & Haines, A. (n.d.). Asset Building and Community Development. Los Angeles, California: SAGE.
Mammoth Lakes Foundation. (n.d.). About Us. Retrieved November 2, 2016, from Mammoth Lakes Foundation: http://www.mammothlakesfoundation.org/about_us
U.S. Census Bureau. (2014). Educational Attainment. Retrieved November 2, 2016, from American Fact Finder: http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_14_5YR_S1501&prodType=table