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Posted 7/6/2018

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By Jay Field

LOS ANGELES -- The U.S Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District signed a partnering agreement with the College of Engineering, Computer Science and Technology at California State University, Los Angeles July 5. The agreement promises to enhance opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, or STEM, education and career paths.

"The motto of our college at ECST is 'commit to excellence, engage in community," said Dr. Emily Allen, ECST dean. "A partnership with the Army Corps of Engineers perfectly speaks to this commitment and being part of the community, working together in partnership, and giving students the chance to go out there and make their community better, whether it's infrastructure or other things that the Corps does."

Recognizing the need for a workforce comprised of diverse, high performing individuals with STEM skills, the agreement identifies actions that will provide students and recent graduates employment opportunties. These actions include establishing a list of Corps volunteer professionals to support mentoring needs at the college, conducting site visits to Corps facilities and raising awareness about the Corps and its Pathways internship program.

"This is a tremendous partnership and pathway for our students," said Jose Gomez, executive vice president and chief operating officer, Cal State LA. "We don't just have engineers here, we have all kinds of students ready and willing to go work in the federal government. Hopefully, we can expand the partnership outside of just engineering."

Cal State LA, founded in 1947, serves more than 27,000 students through nationally recognized programs in science, the arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education and the humanities. U.S. News & World Report's 2018 Best Colleges edition ranks the university in the top 50 of Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs nationwide.

Four Cal State LA graduates are currently in the internship program with the Corps, stated Los Angeles District Commander Col. Kirk Gibbs. After rotating through different parts of the District, he said, interns typically develop a love for a certain discipline and are hired directly into a position when their internship ends.

"I'm just really excited and I'm really honored to be able to do this ... with Great Minds in STEM, with this great university and the leadership, and I thank you all for stepping forward to enter into this agreement with us," Gibbs said. "We're here and we're available for your college. Just let us know what you need; we will respond, we will meet, and we will be a good partner."

Representatives will meet annually to review the progress of partnering activities between the university and the Corps.

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