Mesa College engineering program earns Preferred Provider designation
September 9, 2020 |
The San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. and Advancing San Diego have designated San Diego Mesa College’s Engineering Program as a Preferred Provider of talent in training the next generation of engineers in the region.
Preferred Providers are chosen through skills-based criteria developed by industry, a commitment to industry engagement, and their success at reaching and serving a diverse student body. Mesa College’s designation underscores the San Diego Community College District’s success in working with its corporate partners in developing curriculum, programs, and initiatives relevant to a rapidly changing economy. Being a Preferred Provider also means Mesa College engineering students will be eligible for up to 24 paid internships at a dozen engineering firms in San Diego.
Advancing San Diego is funded by JPMorgan Chase’s Advancing Cities Challenge aimed at helping the region strengthen relationships between industry and education and working with schools to better prepare students from traditionally underserved populations for high-demand jobs. A JP Morgan Chase grant will pay for the 240-hour internships at $20 per hour. Students also will be eligible for stipends of up to $500. To quality for internships, students need to have taken certain courses as part of Mesa’s Engineering Program; the department and work-based learning coordinators will identify students who qualify and will reach out to them directly to apply for internships through the Economic Development Corp.’s website staring at the end of August.
Employers said they were impressed with the Mesa College Engineering Program’s concerted efforts to adapt its curriculum to industry needs and ability to serve a diverse student body through its community outreach initiatives.
“They offered praise on employer engagement and were grateful to learn more about Mesa College through this process,” said Kate Gallagher, Senior Manager of Economic Development at the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation. Employers, Gallagher said, were intent on continuing to partner with Mesa College and support the future development of its Engineering Program.
And for good reason.
“Our mentality has been to make the Mesa College Engineering Program the best of any engineering program at the community college level, and that has made Mesa College a center of engineering excellence,” said Engineering Professor Morteza Mohssenzadeh, who noted the foundational knowledge provided by the transfer-level courses is second to none.
That is exactly what Advancing San Diego is looking for. Led by the Economic Development Corp., Advancing San Diego also involves the San Diego Workforce Partnership, the San Diego & Imperial Counties Community College Association (SDICCCA), the city of San Diego, and the United Way of San Diego County. The goal: generating an additional 20,000 skilled workers who hold degrees or credentials in San Diego County by 2030.
Advancing San Diego has worked with employers to select Preferred Providers in the fields of software engineering, general engineering, and business. Up to 170 internships in all will be funded through the three-year, $3-million, JP Morgan Chase grant, half of which is for intern pay.
“A key focus of Advancing San Diego is to not only recognize colleges and universities that are providing the training needed by employers in high-demand, hard-to-fill positions, but also to provide an opportunity for employers to learn about the amazing things our education system, including San Diego Mesa College, is doing,” Gallagher said. “It’s a resource for business and industry to find out about the local talent pool that is out there and recognize that they don’t have to go outside San Diego to find the people with the qualifications they need.”
The Engineering Program has seen its enrollment increase by more than 90% over the past six years. “All the transfer-level, undergraduate requirement classes for engineering can be completed at Mesa College at a fraction of the cost of a four-year college or university,” Professor Mohssenzadeh said.
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