College established in 1977

Established in 1977, the Guam Community College (GCC) is public career and technical education institution located in the village of Mangilao. GGC’s mission states: “Guam Community College is a leader in career and technical workforce development, providing the highest quality, student-centered education and job training for Micronesia. As Guam’s only community college, GCC was established by Public Law 14-77 (and amended by Public Law 31-99 in 2011).

As of 2018 GCC offers 22 postsecondary associate degree and 18 certificate programs, a thriving Apprenticeship program which is in partnership with over 100 island businesses, and a Continuing Education Office that provides Guam’s business community members with needed courses, programs, industry training, and national credentials.

Offers adult education

The College also offers an Adult Education program that includes high school equivalency testing, a federally-funded adult high school program with no tuition cost to students, adult basic education, and English as a Second Language (ESL) courses; and 12 career and technical education (CTE) programs offered to varying degrees in Guam’s seven public high schools.

While GCC’s main campus takes up 32.75 acres in Mangilao, the College also provides students with satellite classes at village mayors’ offices, CTE programs in Guam’s seven public high schools and classes onsite at businesses as requested.

From 1977 to 1982, Dr. John C. Salas served as the College’s first provost. During this period, GCC absorbed the community career program and the police academy from the University of Guam, as well as the Guam Department of Labor’s apprenticeship program, and the Department of Education’s Adult Basic Education Program.

In 1979, GCC first earned accreditation from the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), and has been accredited since then. In June 2018, GCC earned reaffirmation of its accreditation for a full seven years – the longest accreditation period issued for a community college.

Formerly known as Voc-Tech

Prior to the College’s establishment in 1977, the Mangilao campus was home to the Guam Vocational-Technical (Voc-Tech) High School, which had opened its doors in 1966 – around the same time that the neighboring George Washington High School was established. When GCC was established, the Voc-Tech high school still existed on the campus and the two institutions, in the minds of the general public, became one.

When Southern High School opened its doors in the village of  Sånta Rita-Sumai in 1995, enrollment at the GCC Voc-Tech High School dropped significantly, and in 2000, the last Voc-Tech high school class graduated from the Mangilao campus.

Career and Technical Education

GCC subsequently implemented its Career and Technical Education (formerly vocational-technical education) programs into the island’s public high schools, where program enrollment has nearly tripled in the past 18 years.

Technological advances, coupled with industry advisory committees that meet with faculty and academic administrators, have grown GCC’s postsecondary programs. As of 2018, GCC postsecondary enrollment is at nearly 2,300 students, and over 2,700 high school students are enrolled in its CTE programs in the public high schools. The high school CTE programs offer students a pathway into postsecondary education through GCC Dual Credit Articulated Programs of Study, or DCAPS, in which students can earn college credit in corresponding GCC postsecondary programs upon graduation from high school. One of those programs, the Pro-Start program, has put Guam on the national high school culinary map. The ProStart team from Simon Sanchez High School was the first team to ever win back-to-back championships at the National ProStart Invitational, in 2013 and 2014.

GCC President

GCC has been under the leadership of its first woman president, Dr. Mary Ann Young Okada, since 2007. During her tenure, the GCC campus has undergone a massive transformation, and three new buildings were constructed: the Anthony A. Leon Guerrero Allied Health Center, a new Learning Resource Center (Guam’s first LEED Gold designated building), and a Student Center. GCC has also expanded programs to provide more focus on technology and sustainability, in response to the needs of island industries and renovated and hardened several more campus structures.

In its four decades of existence, GCC has helped over 160,000 island residents – equal to nearly the entire population of Guam – to build a better quality of life through education, training, and enhanced employment opportunities.

By Jayne Flores

For further reading

Guam Community College. “Be More…Here!” GCC Homepage.