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Engineers Tapped for High-Tech Internships

UCR Engineering Professors, Graduate Students to “Intern” with California Companies

The program will give professors and students insight into what the state’s
high-tech companies are looking for from research centers such as UCR.

(March 6, 2006)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — — UC Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering professors and graduate students will participate in “faculty internships” with California companies to exchange knowledge, get an inside view on industry needs and build relationships that can lead to new collaborations.

UC Riverside is part of a team, led by the California Space Authority (CSA), which won one of 13 WIRED (Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development) federal grants from the US Department of Labor. Stanford and USC are among the 13 academic institutions involved. UCR will receive $150,000 per year for three years.

“I am particularly pleased that the interactions will enable us to attract students to engineering, and provide them with real examples of the excitement that comes with careers in engineering,” said Reza Abbaschian, dean of the Bourns College of Engineering.

“UCR will work with the CSA and its own industry contacts to identify partner companies for the internships,” said Mitch Boretz, a technical communications specialist at the Bourns College of Engineering. Details of how UCR and other universities and colleges will work in this partnership will be discussed later this week.

The next step for UCR, according to Boretz, is to identify faculty and students from the college to work at selected companies and make the necessary arrangements for the internships.

Governed by a statewide board of directors, the Santa Maria-based California Space Authority is a nonprofit corporation representing the commercial, civil, and national defense/homeland security interests of California's diverse space enterprise community in four domains: industry, government, academia, and workforce. The CSA has offices in Sacramento, Torrance, San Bernardino and El Cajon.

The CSA/UCR partnership is part of a $15 million, three-year, statewide program funded by the U.S. Department of Labor to train workers for high-skill, high-wage jobs that will keep California on the leading edge of the nation’s space enterprise. Nationally, these grants total $195 million. The federal government invests over $14 billion every year in talent development through the public workforce investment system, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

According to CSA officials, the initiative responds to the changing demands of the global marketplace, and the project is expected to be instrumental in restructuring workforce development and education to produce world class 21st century technical workers.

“This project puts CSA and its partnership team on the cutting-edge of workforce transformation,” said Andrea Seastrand, executive director of the CSA, which has established partnerships with 68 industry and workforce organizations and 13 California counties.

The program is designed to address three issues of concern along California’s “Innovation Corridor,” which stretches along coastal California from Alameda County south to San Diego County and includes Riverside and San Bernardino counties. A recent state economic analysis revealed the following economic concerns for this corridor:

  • Region-wide entrepreneurial activity is seriously under potential;

  • The region has suffered staggering manufacturing job losses;

  • And the region is experiencing a critical lack of availability of technical workers.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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