Barstow Community College has been selected out of 10 community colleges to participate in the California Advanced Defense Ecosystems & National Consortia Effort.
CADENCE is a part of a larger statewide project aimed to help seek a qualified workforce to assist with Department of Defense projects by focusing on local Career & Technical Education and economic growth in their local community.
Funding for the CADENCE project comes from a $275,000 grant received by The Centers for Applied Competitive Technologies.
"The CADENCE Project signals the start of a defense manufacturing movement for Barstow Community College," said Dean of Instruction, Workforce & Economic Development Dr. Crystal Nasio. "Our hope is that BCC will be seen as the premier training center for outstanding tradespeople. We are looking forward to future growth."
The grant funds will allow CACT to provide experiential learning opportunities for college faculty externships at identified California defense supply chain or manufacturing companies.
CACT will also create experiential learning opportunities for California Community College students through student internships at identified California defense supply chain or manufacturing companies thereby building a pipeline of workforce talent for future employment in the industry.
Barstow College, in partnership with Victorville-based Exquadrum, has developed two of these internship positions. The opportunity will provide college students with workforce experience and skills in engineering and the aerospace industry.
These unique internship opportunities will help students learn and evolve in the ever-changing manufacturing, research, and fabrication environments, as well as the skills needed in the High Desert, BCC officials said.
Two BCC students, Alia Allen and Angel Armenta, enrolled in the Industrial Maintenance program at the College, were selected for the pilot internship with Exquadrum.
"Education is the single biggest means by which to elevate our community and bring prosperity to our family and friends," said Eric Schmidt, the president and co-founder of Exquadrum.
Barstow College's Adjunct Professor of Welding and Industrial Maintenance Joshua O'Neal, who has been alongside these students during the project, said he is fascinated by the work being done at Exquadrum and sees the value in this opportunity for his students.
"Learning a trade requires precise attention to detail, manual dexterity, ability to work in temperature extreme environments, ability to work in difficult positions for extended periods of time, ability to operate multiple hand and power tools proficiently, identify construction materials, read blueprints, read electrical schematics, and read hydraulic schematics," O'Neal said.
He added that one must have good communication skills, both written and verbal, and most importantly have a safety-oriented, team player attitude at all times.
These attributes have been demonstrated by Barstow Community College students," O'Neal said.
BCC officials said thanks to community partnerships with companies like Exquadrum, its students are turning their CTE skills and education into full-time employment and are hitting the ground running in their new career paths in the High Desert.
Exquadrum oversees a wide range of projects and has previously contracted with private firms and government agencies, including the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Department of Defense's Missile Defense Agency and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, Schmidt said.
For example, Exquadrum's $15.1 million contract with DARPA included a 2020 successful completion of a second and final hot-fire test of a new rocket being developed for the DARPA Operational Fires advanced hypersonic weapon system mission, the Daily Press reported.
The rocket propulsion system for DARPA was tested in 2020 at Exquadrum's FORGE Rocket Test Facility at the Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville.
For more information about internship experiences or workforce opportunities through BCC's CTE Workforce Development Programs, visit barstow.edu/departments/career-technical-education-cte.
Daily Press reporter Rene Ray De La Cruz may be reached at 760-951-6227 or RDeLaCruz@VVDailyPress.com. Follow him on Twitter @DP_ReneDeLaCruz.
This article originally appeared on Victorville Daily Press: Barstow College selected to participate in technical education program