AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREChargers go winless in AFC West with season-ending loss in Kansas CityThe event brought together about 100 students, teachers, board members and experts in environment-related fields to revamp Rio Hondo’s courses to cater to job openings today, bringing what Castaneda-Calleros called an outdated program up to speed. The college chose to host the event to draw in community members rather than a simple focus group because of the fast pace of change in environmentally based professions. “The number of people retiring in these fields is growing, and the number of people replacing them is diminishing,” Rio Hondo College board President Maria Elena Martinez said. The event was sponsored by the Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District, the Central Basin Municipal Water District and the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County. “ABC Eyewitness News” weatherman Danny Romero, a Rio Hondo alumnus, was master of ceremonies. Assemblyman Ed Hernandez, D-West Covina, and Rio Hondo College President Ted Martinez Jr. each delivered an address to the symposium. But most development for the new environmental science program at Rio Hondo occurred in five break-out sessions, where participants chose between five categories, including waste management and environmental health and safety. These programs were led by students and professors and included experts in each field. Castaneda-Calleros said each session included a note taker who will write a “white paper” describing the discussion from that group, to be included in a pamphlet that will be handed out to participants by February. The sessions focused not only on professional jobs where students would go on to a four-year university, but on vocational training as well. Groups discussed how training for mechanics must change for hybrid cars and how other careers will change because of environmental consciousness. Rich Brito, a first-semester student and an energy company specialist, said he is returning to school to finish a four-year degree in environmental science. Brito, 43, said the symposium could boost programs and awareness around the Los Angeles area. “There’s a lack of environmental programs throughout the junior colleges in Southern California,” Brito said. Ted Martinez said the program was a way to hear from employers about how to better prepare students for the work force. Martinez also said students would be listened to, through papers published on symposium discussions and in other ways as curriculum is reformed to concentrate on preparing students for developing industries. “Right now, they’re here, they’re listening to a discussion,” Martinez said of students. “Their awareness is increasing. We will look for ways to seek input from them as well.” [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3029 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Green-thinking professionals and students from a local college are looking toward the future in environmentally focused jobs. The Rio Hondo College Symposium, “Education Pathways to Green Jobs,” took place at the Pacific Palms Conference Resort in Industry on Friday morning. The symposium, the product of more than a year of planning, aimed to improve the junior college’s program for environmental education. “This is to help us identify what types of skills and training are needed for green-collar jobs,” said Russell Castaneda-Calleros, director of community relations for the college.