College May Cut Floral Program

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By Darlene Montgomery

Last week I was given notice by the (Shasta Community) college president that our floral program is scheduled to be eliminated.
Now, I understand that we are not the only ones on this list, but we offer a very viable educational program that leads to employment in the community itself.
Also, interestingly enough, the floral program is very inexpensive to run. Students pay their own materials fees, and instructors’ salaries are funded by enrollment.

Our floral program is not being reduced in reimbursement by the state, so it really is confusing as to why we share this doomsday list.

Our Master Floral Certificate  Program is not a hobby. It is a bona fide certificate program that includes business courses and work-site learning.

Many of our students have become employed at floral shops, nurseries, such craft centers as Michael’s and such mass markets such as Raley’s and Safeway.

Our program has a reputation for offering a complete and thorough education in this wide-reaching industry. It is the very foundation of what a community college is all about.

It would seem that the goal of our current administration would be to eliminate vocational education in favor of transfer students.

I personally would like to see the local students find employment in their own communities and keep our city and counties healthy and viable.

Not only are the florists gatekeepers of tradition – births, funerals, birthdays and almost every celebration in-between, they also are a huge part of every memorable event in life.

My request to the community of Redding is this: Help us preserve our program and others like it.

Help the Master Floral Certificate Program reach its final goal in its vision for the future: a Shasta College Floral/Horticulture Gift Shop for students to work in.

Please send letters of comment and support to: Darlene Montgomery, Instructor, Master Floral Certificate Program, via email at or you may send your comments to Gary Lewis, President, Shasta College, via email at

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6 Responses

  1. Avatar DougM says:

    It seems to me that it is elitist to eliminate programs such as this that provide an education in a valuable trade. Cutting back on vocational training is short sighted. The skill sets required in most modrern vocations cannot be picked up on-the-job. Employers want well trained people ready to produce. It is the mandate of the college to supply this type of training, not cut it back in favor of "profitable" programs. Taxpayers fund education to receive educated people. Education is NOT a for profit enterprise. Shasta College (and all educational instutions for that matter) need to drop the idea that schools must be run like businesses.

  2. Avatar pmarshall says:

    Don't like to see programs like that eliminated. Very short-sighted.

  3. Avatar M Price says:

    I benefited greatly from the floral certification program at shasta college. I would not be where I am in the floral industry if I had not taken the classes. This is a program that needs to stay. Many benefit in the job market from these classes.

  4. Avatar Martin Van Orsow says:

    Floral cultivation, distribution, resale, farmers' market and related green businesses are the way of the future, using local resources, a smaller carbon footprint in bringing flowers to market and the possibility of expanding organic, biodynamic and other new and ecologically friendly cultivation methods…….

    Our local soils, climate, long growing season local expertise and availability of water makes this agricultural acitvity ideally suited for our region.

    Few other businesses can match the high dollar value of flower production, relatively low investment cost, and availability of skilled local labor for a profitable small business like this.

    To cut off the only source of vocational training at Shasta College will force more young people to look for this type of green employment opportunity outside of our area.

    I am convinced that strategic thinkers at Shasta College will prevail and maintain, support, and expand the floral program.

  5. Avatar Eileen White says:

    As a former florist myself, I can attest to the value of a community based college program to train those interested in entering the floral industry.

    This is a program ,that by Ms. Montgomery's own account, is self-sustaining financially and produces trained, employable florists into the community. This appears, in my mind, to be a perfect marriage in these challenging times-a program that produces a viable product and service and is cost effective!

    I urge you to re-evaluate this program and others on the list of program eliminations. This is a "stimulus package" that we can understand and makes real sense.

    Thank you for your consideration, Eileen White

  6. Wow, how depressing. Unfortunately, secondary education is a for profit enterprise. I urge you to continue the fight for this program. However, if it's not that one, it will be one of equal value that gets canned. So sad.