Image of Mayte Cortes.

“DVC has long been recognized for meeting students wherever they are on their educational path, and guiding them to success,” said Paul Pitner, professor for early childhood education at DVC. 

For adult learners focused on taking their career to the next level, DVC offers many options for upskilling or retraining, including partnership programs with adult education and community education. 

After arriving in the United States from Mexico, Mayte Cortes decided to pursue a career in early childhood education.  

“I wanted to work at First Five but was told I needed to be able to communicate in English, and that early childhood education (ECE) units were required,” said Cortes. 

Mayte Cortes

Mayte Cortes

Cortes enrolled in English as a Second Language (ESL) courses through Mt. Diablo Adult Education. She also learned about Project ACCESS, a program that prepares students for success in DVC’s early childhood education program.  

“I had wondered if there was hope for me. Then Project ACCESS opened its doors and changed my life,” said Cortes.  

Project ACCESS combines ESL instruction with college preparation skills, career training, and other support services for ESL students interested in careers in early childhood education.  

“Instructors for the ECE and ESL classes collaborate to ensure student success,” said Mariana Rios, early childhood education student resources project assistant at DVC. 

Cortes is now working towards an associate in science for transfer (AD-T/AS-T) in early childhood education and plans to transfer to a four-year university to earn a bachelor’s degree.

“Project ACCESS fosters a community for students who, like me, have not mastered the English language and want to self-improve and create positive impact,” said Cortes.

To learn more about Project ACCESS, visit

Community education builds confidence and career skills  

Roanna Gee

Roanna Gee

Community education provides lifelong learning opportunities that can lead to college and career advancement, but without the pressure of grades.  

“Community education serves DVC through not-for-credit offerings that fulfill DVC’s mission to promote personal growth and lifelong learning,” said Johanna Padilla, director of community education for DVC. 

Community education is also a gateway to career advancement through short courses in specific industry areas.   

“DVC community education is a great choice for adults interested in upskilling. Our offerings are fast-paced and accessible to working adults with multiple responsibilities,” said Padilla.  

While working at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Roanna Gee enrolled in the IBM Cybersecurity Fundamentals online course offered through DVC’s community education program. 

“Cybersecurity jobs are expected to increase by 48 percent in the next five years. This IBM SkillsBuild cybersecurity credential prepares learners for these careers,” said Theresa Hade, the senior program coordinator for career and community engagement at DVC.  

Students enrolled in the course can earn six individual digital badges that represent key skills learned. The final capstone challenge is led by a cybersecurity industry expert.  

“Being able to speak to a leader in the field gave us opportunities to ask questions. I also enjoyed networking with other students,” said Gee.

Justice Gaines

Justice Gaines enrolled in the course upon the recommendation of an instructor at Cal State East Bay, where Gaines is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree. He is also employed as a field service engineer. Gaines feels the cybersecurity course has been instrumental in enhancing his job performance.  

“As industries and personal aspirations evolve, success hinges on the ability to embrace change for the long-term,” said Gaines. 

Gee shares this view and is now taking an introductory course in computer network technology.  

“I plan to continue to take other networking courses at DVC, as well as explore other course offerings through both DVC and DVC’s community education program,” said Gee. 

To find out more, visit