Our Statewide Sector Navigator and regional Deputy Sector Navigators are available to support businesses, students, colleges, and K-12 Partners.
Deputy Sector Navigator
Region C (Central Valley, Mother Lode, Eastern Sierra)
Merced Community College Distrcit, Merced, CA
Terry Plett serves as the DSN for the Retail, Hospitality, and Tourism Sector in the Central Valley-Mother lode Regional Consortium. Terry is hosted at the Merced College’s Workplace Learning Resource Center. He has over 30 years of experience in employment, training and economic development.
His work as the DSN serves as a catalyst with area educational institutions, and employers to better equip and empower their workforce to meet today’s ever changing workforce requirements in the retail, hospitality and tourism industries.
Terry has served on the Board of Directors for the Center for Public Policy Studies at the California State University, Stanislaus and was engaged with the Center staff on a variety of public policy studies for Stanislaus County and the surrounding region.
Deputy Sector Navigator
Region G (Los Angeles, and Orange County)
Rancho Santiago Community College District, Santa Ana, CA
Ruth Cossio-Muniz is director of the contract education program at Rancho Santiago Community College District (RSCCD) and the Deputy Sector Navigator (DSN) of Retail, Hospitality, and Tourism industries in the Los Angeles and Orange County regions representing 27 colleges in the renowned California Community Colleges system.
Prior to her current roles, Ruth was director of the Workplace Learning Resource Center providing customized training and professional development to local businesses. She was the assistant director of the Orange County Small Business Development Center (SBDC), recognized as a 2009 Center of Excellence by the U.S. Small Business Administration for enhancement of training and service to entrepreneurs. Previous to that, she served as the public information officer at Santa Ana College where she managed the development and implementation of marketing, media and public relations campaigns targeted to multicultural audiences. Before transitioning to the public sector, Ruth worked in the corporate industry as an account executive for Top 10 agencies in advertising and public relations representing clients that included Acura, Visa, Packard Bell, Hilton, Claritin, Anheuser-Busch, Coca-Cola, Kraft, MoneyGram, Mattel and Maybelline. Her work experience in the RHT industry includes working for the John Wayne Airport, Main Place Mall, South Coast Plaza, Baskin Robbins, Shakey’s Pizza and Salsa Restaurant.
Ruth is a member of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, the Orange County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, American Society of Training & Development, the International Council of Hospitality, Restaurant and Institutional Education, and serves on the Regional Advisory Board of the Western Association of Food Chains.
Starleen Van Buren, Ed.D.
Statewide Director/Sector Navigator
El Camino College, Torrance, CA
Star Van Buren has worked for the El Camino College Business Training Center (BTC) since 2005. She was hired as a marketing consultant for the BTC/Small Business Development Center (SBDC) where she planned and coordinated SBDC workshops and special events, marketed SBDC services to the community, and counseled small business owners on effective marketing techniques. She was promoted to the director of marketing and outreach for the BTC in 2006. Her responsibilities included marketing the services of all the BTC’s divisions including the Small Business Development Center, the Center for Applied Competitive Technologies, the Center for International Trade Development, the Workplace Learning Resource Center, and Contract/Community Education. She was appointed as interim SBDC director in September 2008 and was officially hired as the director in December 2008.
Ms. Van Buren’s began her profession in the financial services industry. She started as a marketing editor and over the years was promoted to marketing manager, then to vice president of marketing. Her last position was chief operations officer in charge of teller operations, member services, lending, collections and marketing/business development. During her 15-year career, Ms. Van Buren won numerous industry awards for the development and implementation of effective marketing campaigns. She also is an experienced small business owner. She and her husband opened a tax and accounting practice in 2004 which her husband operates today.
Ms. Van Buren received an MBA from the University of Redlands and a B.A. in communications from California State University Dominguez Hills. She also attended the Otis College of Art and Design.
Deputy Sector Navigator
Region B (Santa Rosa, San Francisco, San Mateo, East Bay, Silicon Valley, North Bay, Santa Cruz, and Monterey)
Skyline Community College, San Bruno, CA
Andrea Vizenor is the Deputy Sector Navigator for the Retail, Hospitality and Tourism (RHT) sector for Bay Region Community Colleges housed at Skyline College. Ms. Vizenor acts as a catalyst for the advancement of programs in RHT, thoughtful industry engagement, K12 pathway expansion into Community Colleges and educator professional development.
Ms. Vizenor has a vast background in industry and K12 education where she began her role in the hospitality industry as a travel agent and moved quickly into a career with Hyatt Hotels and Resorts. During her 10 years with Hyatt Hotels she held the following positions: Rooms Manager, Executive Housekeeper, Director of Guest Services, Employment and Training Manager and Director of Training. Through valuable partnerships established with education during her Hyatt Career she was afforded the opportunity to teach K12 Hospitality and Entrepreneurship Career Technical Education (CTE) programs for 8 years, where she integrated work-based learning components into program design.
In her role as DSN, Andrea continues to pave the way for regional development of high quality career pathway experiences, adult school bridge to college programming, focusing on language development and technical skills advancement in RHT, as well as valuable work-based learning opportunities for students in RHT.