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Sound Bites - Issue #19 - March 2015


  Community Education's Premiere Online Magazine

This Month's Topics:


Michelle King, Director Community and Contract Ed Michelle King, Director
Career & Contract Ed.

11-Month Paralegal Academy Opens March 23!

We are pleased to announce the launch of our first-ever Paralegal Academy, a program that will train students for careers in a fast-growing field in just 11 months.

Classes begin March 23 and will be held Monday and Wednesday evenings from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. and most Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. A certificate of completion is awarded upon successful completion of the course and qualifies our students to work as paralegals under a licensed attorney in California. The cost is $294 a month.

Our program’s 400-plus hours of instruction focus on developing students’ critical thinking and analytical skills and preparing them to handle day-to-day tasks and responsibilities in ANY type of law practice.

Employment of paralegals and legal assistants is projected to grow 17 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The new program is headed up by Ric Riccobono, an attorney with 35 years of experience who directed a similar program at Los Angeles Valley College.

Paralegal Academy

The program is distinguished from other programs in offering a wider variety of courses that prepare students much more effectively for their careers.

In addition, the program – at 11 months – is longer than some that take about four months but those students don’t have enough training to comply with California law to be practicing paralegals. Other programs can take two to three years, and students earn associate or bachelor degrees as well. Credits from the SMC program can be transferred towards a two- or four-year degree at colleges such as Empire College in New York and Bellevue University in Nebraska, both of which offer online degrees.

Studies have shown that paralegals generally start at about $40,000 a year, climbing to $60,000 within five years and $70,000 to $100,000 after seven years.

Registration for the Paralegal Academy is online at For more information, call (310) 434-3400 or email

Michelle King
Director of Career & Contract Education



Alice Meyering, Program Coordinator, Community and Contract Ed Alice Meyering,
Program Coordinator
Community & Contract Education

What's New: The Drought’s Silver Lining

This winter has felt more like summer in Los Angeles, underlining the severe drought we’ve been having, despite a couple good rains earlier this month.

But the drought comes with some good news of sorts. The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power has its California Friendly® Landscape Incentive Program, providing rebates for homeowners who remove thirsty lawns and replace them with California Friendly plants, mulch, and permeable pathways.

And to help homeowners, we are offering a 4-hour “Drought Tolerant Landscaping” workshop on May 22 that will be taught by Charlotte Chen. She recently told me how her class will assist homeowners pick the right landscape designer and contractor and avoid costly problems.

landscape Photo courtesy of

“I lived in South Pasadena long ago when drought tolerant gardens were not mandatory,” said Charlotte, who has more than 30 years experience in the business. “Most were not prepared properly and had to be redone, costing the home owner more money.   

“Aside from ensuring the proper use of plants, a good drought tolerant landscaping plan will also take into consideration that the ‘hardscape’ is not only aesthetically pleasing but is also functional,” she continued.

landscapePhoto courtesy of


 “Preparation is most important. Without it, you could end up with costly repairs. Students in my class will come away with some knowledge about what to look for when working with a designer and contractor. “

For me, it’s rewarding that we can provide valuable information and guidance in a workshop such as Charlotte’s – and at the same time, help the environment.




Bridge to Excellence!

Some people might think that the game of Bridge is a relic of the past, a ritual of 1950s- and 1960s-era housewives.

On the contrary, Bridge – the “live” version, not computer or online games – is alive and well. In fact, enthusiasts around the world have established highly structured organizations around the card game.

And nobody knows more about this than Candace “Candy” Scott, who not only teaches Beginning and Intermediate Bridge classes at Community Ed, she also offers “Candy’s Bridge Club” through the program.

Scott, who has been teaching Bridge since 1980 to students ranging from 8 to 105 years old, is very active in the rarefied world of the game – and has received honors for her game skills and volunteerism.

“The American Contract Bridge League is made up of 26 Districts. Los Angeles is District 23 and I am the Corresponding and Recording Secretary,” Scott says. “I am a Gold life Master, a Certified Bridge teacher and a member of the National Goodwill Committee.”

Her honors have included Volunteer of the Year and Player of the Year. 

Though Bridge is a big part of her life, she has many other interests and achievements.

“I love to cook and am proud to have been the editor of a cookbook of 30 years of recipes from Bridge players of the Los Angeles District,” she says. “I would love to give any student a copy of my labor of love.”

She continues, “I have learned American Sign Language and have been given the Mordichai Award for being a hearing person who is a liaison between the deaf and hearing communities. I have worked with the Los Angeles Mayor's office in their yearly Deaf Festival with a booth where deaf and hearing children and their families can interact.”