Jeannelle Balilo, pictured center, is a student from MiraCosta College, participating in Northrop Grumman’s new talent pipeline program. She is joined by Northrop Grumman engineers, Elyse Kellerman and Ryan Colebourn. Photo courtesy Northrop Grumman Corp.

Northrop Grumman Corp. launched a new talent pipeline program in San Diego that provides community college students enrolled in science, technology, engineering and mathematics degrees with paid, work-based learning opportunities and a pathway to qualification for careers in the aerospace and defense industries. 

Northrop Grumman partnered with MiraCosta College and Palomar College for the pilot phase of the new program during school year 2019-2020 and is exploring additional partnerships through the San Diego & Imperial Counties Community College Association for school year 2020-2021. 

“Establishing a framework to collaborate with education systems is necessary for building a strong local talent pipeline and supports a long-term workforce planning strategy,” said Alfredo Ramirez, vice president, engineering, Northrop Grumman. “Our decision to develop a community college pilot fills a critical gap bridging K-12 and university programming, allowing us to reach and engage students in San Diego throughout their education journey.” 

A small cohort of students from MiraCosta and Palomar colleges were selected for the fall 2019 semester through an application and interview process. These students are now part- time engineering assistants and technicians and will earn credit at their respective colleges while gaining valuable career experience in systems integration and test, software engineering and electronics and payloads at Northrop Grumman’s San Diego Autonomous Design Center of Excellence located in San Diego. 

“MiraCosta College serves a diverse student population including a large veteran community. Northrop Grumman’s pilot program gives us the ability to provide our students with empowering industry-based experiences that will help them define and shape their future,” said Dr. Sunita “Sunny” Cooke, superintendent and president of MiraCosta College. 

Dr. Joi Lin Blake, superintendent and president of the Palomar Community College District, Palomar College, adds, “Palomar College is a Hispanic Serving Institution and the opportunity for two of our Latinx students to engage in work-based learning where they can earn Northrop Grumman Pilots New Student Talent Pipeline Program in San Diego a competitive wage and be mentored by Northrop Grumman’s best and brightest engineers is a win-win.”

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