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Nonprofit Aims To Prep 11,000 Community College Students for STEM Careers

Orange Coast College faculty and students work with a metal 3D printer provided to the school by Base 11.The nonprofit Base 11 has initiated a STEM Revolution program with the goal of placing 11,000 community college students across the country in either four-year universities; full-time science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)-related jobs; or STEM-related businesses that they start by 2020.

The nonprofit kicked off its initiative at West Los Angeles College. Base 11 will provide funding, equipment, facilities and curriculum for hands-on STEM education and training, particularly in work with unmanned aircraft systems (drones), micro-satellites and STEM-related entrepreneurship programs.

"Our focus is to fuel the revolution with the STEM workforce and entrepreneur of the 21st century," said Base 11 CEO Landon Taylor.

The goal is to move 11,000 community college students to what the nonprofit is calling its "Victory Circle," which can be attained by one of the following:

  • Admission to a STEM-related major at a four-year university;
  • Employment in a well-paid STEM-related job; or
  • Development of a STEM-related business enterprise.

Base 11 is a nonprofit whose goal is to provide "high-potential, low-resource students" with real-life training, experience and mentoring in STEM-related enterprises.

Among its corporate and institutional partners are California Institute of Technology, Detroit Aircraft Corp., Interorbital Systems and the National College Resource Foundation.

"As the unmanned aircraft systems industry continues to grow, our partnership with Base 11 will position thousands of well-trained students for well-paid jobs," said Detroit Aircraft Corp. CEO Jon Rimanelli.

Base 11 takes its name from the concept of the base-10 number system, one of the most basic assumptions behind thinking in science and mathematics. The name Base 11 is intended to signal a disruptive departure with the status quo.

Along with its emphasis on education and training at West Los Angeles College in drone and micro-satellite programs, students will have the opportunity to participate in a mentorship program at Caltech, an internship program at the Detroit Aircraft Corp., a STEM Entrepreneurial Innovation Program and the Base 11 Fellowship Program.

"The community college is home to American know-how and inventiveness," said West Los Angeles College President Nabil Abu-Ghazaleh, "and this partnership will unleash the unbounded imaginations of students for whom our college is the only viable path."

Base 11 representatives said they hope to expand the program beyond Los Angeles to Detroit and Las Vegas this summer and eight more cities in the United States by the end of 2017.

About the Author

Michael Hart is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and the former executive editor of THE Journal.

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