Career Education Liaison Connects Students and Employers to Success Industry Profile

March 23, 2023
Future Built Career Education Liaison

Orange County’s community colleges enroll approximately 225,000 students each year—nearly 75,000 of which are first-generation students. Despite the efforts of colleges to support these students, they often need extra guidance because they don’t have people in their families who have the experience to help them. This is where Gustavo Chamorro, Ed.D., comes in. As the Future BUILT Career Education Liaison, Gustavo helps students and employers connect to the programs and services they need to be successful.

“I enjoy connecting students, regional businesses, and community colleges to answer questions and find helpful resources,” says Gustavo, who is well-known within local career education circles as the former OC Director of the Los Angeles Orange County Regional Consortium before retiring two years ago. 

Today, Gustavo is the Founder and President of Education Advance and Workforce Services, an educational consulting firm dedicated to the development of industry partnerships, relationship building, and student retention. As part of the regional Future BUILT career education marketing project, Gustavo’s work is an extension of the campaign’s overall efforts to raise awareness and drive enrollment in Orange County’s many career education programs. 

Now in its fifth year, the Future BUILT campaign remains as innovative as ever and has added Gustavo’s services as part of an overall effort to improve the campaign’s lead generation abilities. In just the last year, over 1,500 people have contacted Gustavo through the website, leading to more than 1,000 hand-offs to Orange County community colleges. 

For education leaders like Gustavo, helping students, colleges, and industry stakeholders navigate the higher education landscape is just another day on campus. But to students and families, the impact of his services creates life-changing opportunities for long-term success. 

For example, Monica Trinidad moved to California from Mexico with her husband and children with the dream of opening a beauty salon and starting a family business. She struggled with the confidence to pursue her passion, but she always wondered, “How can I make this dream come true?” In 2019, Monica was looking for a cosmetology program in her community when she found the Future BUILT website’s chat feature. This put her in contact with Gustavo who contacted Fullerton College’s Cosmetology Department, where Monica met a bilingual counselor who helped her review the program’s offerings and complete the FAFSA for financial aid.

Today, Monica is moving forward into her second semester. Her success has even inspired her children—her eldest daughter recently joined her in Fullerton College’s cosmetology program and her other daughter enrolled at Cypress College to become an esthetician. 

“When I moved here, there wasn’t much help for Spanish-speaking people to find resources or places to turn to for help,” Monica explains. “Gustavo helped me achieve my goals.”

Like Monica, Alma Valencia and her family moved from Mexico to California to pursue new opportunities. Alma enjoyed being a married and stay-at-home mother of four. However, when Alma’s lively home became an empty nest, she saw an opportunity to get her education and pursue a career nurturing and caring for children. A neighborhood daycare welcomed her with open arms and made her a deal: if Alma could secure her high school diploma, they could guarantee her a new career. But first, she’d have to improve her English skills. 

“I knew I had to improve my English skills to get my diploma,” Alma says. “I looked online every day for places I could find help.”

Again, via the Future BUILT website, Alma was able to connect with Gustavo who put her in touch with a guidance counselor at Santa Ana College who assisted her in enrolling in English language classes. Alma’s classes were so successful that she referred her sister to the program. Then, Alma enrolled in Santa Ana College’s School of Continuing Education to earn her high school diploma.

“We help students understand the U.S. education system regarding what educational programs are available, how to receive financial aid, and how to enroll to get started,” Gustavo explains.

In addition to supporting local students, Gustavo’s work also helps regional businesses connect and build their future workforce. 

One such organization is Active Steps, a company dedicated to providing exceptional behavioral support to children and adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Active Steps employs behavioral health professionals in various settings to support the social and daily skill development of its clients but sourcing well-qualified candidates can be a challenge.

With the demand to fill positions in healthcare at an all-time high due to workforce shortages, recruitment manager Maria Moncayo was looking for opportunities when she connected with Gustavo who encouraged Active Steps to start participating in regional community college job fairs. The result was a win-win for students and employers alike and led to a wave of new hires for behavioral health roles with Active Steps.

“I do what’s best for students by connecting them to promising opportunities to help them lead successful lives,” says Gustavo.