El Camino College has partnered with Red Rocks Community College to establish the new, “Space, Cyber & Supply Talent Development Center.” This partnership will create opportunities for apprenticeships with companies involved in the STEM and the aerospace industries.
The program will include current course offerings along with new specialized courses to prepare students for jobs in the aerospace and space industries. It will provide experience with cyber-security and supply chain talent.
El Camino College and Red Rocks Community College, located in Colorado, are similarly involved in aerospace education. El Camino College President, Dena Maloney, explained that Red Rocks Community College focuses primarily on the software aspect of aerospace while El Camino College focuses on manufacturing.
Maloney explained three goals for the program: To create a new workforce development effort between the two colleges to respond to the needs of industry and the interest of students, to share company connections and through reciprocity in the curriculum, and to develop apprenticeships and opportunities.
The program is available to all interested students, but Maloney believes that it will mostly attract those who are STEM-oriented.
“They may not think of El Camino when they think about those fields [STEM and aerospace], but this really brings that to the forefront so that students know they can find those kinds of opportunities here through this program,” Maloney said.
Aerospace and mechanical engineering expert, Zuhair Ibrahim, received his doctorate in aerospace at the University of California San Diego. He is also a part-time lecturer at USC Viterbi School of Engineering.
Ibrahim emphasized the importance of aerospace engineers and the numerous opportunities in the industry.
“There’s a lot of advancements in aerospace in recent years,” Ibrahim said. “You have a bunch of sectors. To jump from energy to designing rockets, to aircraft, or helicopters, boat designers, yacht designers, all these industries require an aerospace engineer involved.”
To date, El Camino College has provided opportunities and apprenticeships for more than 6,600 people to pursue high-wage jobs at over 250 aerospace companies, according to an El Camino announcement covering the Red Rocks partnership.
Dean of Community Advancement, Jose Anaya, highlighted El Camino’s partnership with Northrop Grumman, a global aerospace and defense technology company.
“We developed an apprenticeship program specifically for their needs that has the potential for those students to go all the way to a four-year degree,” Anaya said. “They want that because management has to have a four-year degree.”
Red Rocks Community College also works with Northrop Grumman to connect students with apprenticeships.
“It’s a great opportunity for students to get good-paying jobs, but more importantly, to get a job where there’s a progression of wage and educational increases,” Anaya said.
“We want to be a resource for them [students.] And companies looking to hire them, we want to be a resource to them,” Maloney agreed.
Maloney and Anaya explained that the program is still in its beginning stages, but they are excited about the long-term opportunities it will provide students.
“There is a Renaissance occurring in space. What I mean by that is there is an excitement about space right now. We haven’t seen that in a while,” Maloney said.