Doug Ernst

Napa Valley Register columnist Doug Ernst.

I’ve had the privilege of working for two of the most venerable community-serving organizations – the Napa Valley Register and Napa Valley College.

When my wife Carolyn and I arrived in 1978 so that I could start working as a Register reporter, we rented an apartment on Old Sonoma Road and started raising a family.

Ten years later, with four kids in tow, we bought a small house near Shearer Elementary and I became an editor for the paper.

Carolyn graduated from NVC with a 4.0 GPA and went to work for the college in the child development center, helping parents care for their infants and toddlers.

Our four daughters attended the college, and three acquired four-year degrees – at UC Davis, Humboldt State and CSU Channel Islands. One is studying for her master’s degree at USC to become a counselor.

Education and newspapers have always been integral parts of our family and the connections remain today.

As the college public relations rep, I scour the Register for ways the college can continue to nurture the community.

That’s because what happens at the college affects the community. For example, a healthy local workforce depends on NVC for certificates and job training.

Also, those who graduate from NVC have a much better chance of getting hired or accepted at larger colleges, which improves lives and local economies.

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Also, NVC helps bind local families to the Napa Valley. I see NVC as the glue that keeps the Valley together, connecting Napa to the Upvalley, and people of all ages and socio-economic backgrounds.

That’s why Napa Valley folks should visit the college on Sat., April 14, (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) to see how students, staff and faculty are using those connections and making them stronger.

The event is called a 75th anniversary because it is designed to be fun, with live music, entertainment, a car show, food and drink.

But it’s really an open house to welcome folks to campus, to see how the local college can elevate a community with access to affordable, quality education.

A public safety career fair will show how to become a first responder in criminal justice (police academy), or a health care provider in emergency medical care (paramedic), psychiatric technology, respiratory care, nursing and counseling.

The physical science displays will showcase careers in engineering, robotics (drones), computer programming and manufacturing technology, while machine tool technology, welding, digital art (architecture), photography and art will wow our guests, along with amazing displays in astronomy, chemistry and physics.

The public will see how the certificates issued by NVC help students land jobs in culinary and hospitality industries, how the Vineyard and Winery Technology program – the largest in the nation – ensures jobs in the world-class Napa Valley wine industry, and how students can develop careers in child development.

April 14 is a date to save.

It could be the day you discover how Napa Valley College can connect you to the community.

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Doug Ernst is the Napa Valley College public information officer. Reach him at DErnst@napavalley.edu or (707) 256-7112.