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Telefunken and Sierra College opened their doors to 85 high school students from Truckee, North Tahoe and Roseville high schools as well as mechatronics students from the Sierra College Truckee campus on Friday, April 20. The goal of the field trip was to give students a memorable experience that pointed out the paths to well-paid, local technical careers. Telefunken employees in Roseville and Sierra College faculty in Rocklin demonstrated tools, gave advice and answered questions ranging from prerequisites to salaries.
The students were excited about the different careers such as drafting and design that they are not exposed to at their high school according to Anne Butterworth, Engineering Technology teacher, North Tahoe High School. “The biggest benefit for the students was seeing the college and career opportunities that are available to anybody, not just the straight A honor roll student,” said Butterworth. “Also, the students were able to see that what we do in our class is relevant to the outside world.”
According to Matthew Nadeau, Director of Manufacturing, Telefunken Semiconductors America, the company has hired several Sierra College Mechatronics graduates and welcomed the opportunity to encourage students to consider a technical career. “This was a rare opportunity for students to see how chips used in anti-locking braking automotive electronics systems are produced,” said Nadeau. “Our employees were excited to demonstrate the equipment they use in a high-tech production environment and share what they enjoy about their careers. For students, seeing where they might work could motivate them to focus on a career path.”
While at Sierra College, students toured the Welding, Mechatronics, Construction, Automotive and Drafting & Engineering Support departments. Alison Salome, Drafting & Engineering Support Department Chair, impressed the students with samples of projects produced on rapid prototype equipment. She also highly recommended the field of drafting for women because of their ability to multi-task and pay attention to the fine details.
“My goal is to give you skills to put you to work,” said Salome. “With just four classes in two semesters, you can earn an employability certificate and start at approximately $13-14 per hour. In four semesters, you can complete one of three Skills Certificates or your AA degree and earn about $25 per hour, the average wage for drafters in the Sacramento region.”
Local employers are seeking skilled technicians explained Carol Pepper-Kittredge, director of the Sierra College Center for Applied Competitive Technologies (CACT) and administrator of the Sierra Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Collaborative grant (www.sierraschoolworks.com). "The purpose of the field trip was to increase the pipeline of students attending Sierra College and preparing for future jobs as skilled technical employees,” said Pepper-Kittredge. “Buses and other costs were funded by Sierra STEM Collaborative grant, awarded by the California Community College Chancellor's Office." Friday’s field trip was also supported by the Sierra College Perkins 1C grant.
For information, go to www.sierracollege.edu, or contact Carol Pepper-Kittredge, director, Center for Applied Competitive Technologies, Sierra College, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (916) 660-7517.