BARSTOW -- Barstow Community College has been selected out of 10 community colleges to participate in the California Advanced Defense Ecosystems & National Consortia Effort (CADENCE). CADENCE is a part of a larger statewide project aimed to help seek a qualified workforce to assist with Department of Defense projects by focusing on local Career & Technical Education (CTE) and economic growth in their local community. Funding for the CADENCE project comes from a $275,000 grant received by The Centers for Applied Competitive Technologies (CACT).

"The CADENCE Project signals the start of a defense manufacturing movement for Barstow Community College. Our hope is that BCC will be seen as the premier training center for outstanding tradespeople. We are looking forward to future growth," says Dr. Crystal Nasio, Dean of Instruction, Workforce & Economic Development.

The grant funds will allow CACT to provide experiential learning opportunities for college faculty externships at identified California defense supply chain or manufacturing companies. CACT will also create experiential learning opportunities for California Community College students through student internships at identified California defense supply chain or manufacturing companies thereby building a pipeline of workforce talent for future employment in the industry. BCC, in partnership with Exquadrum, has developed two of these internship positions. This extraordinary opportunity provides college students invaluable workforce experience and skills in engineering and in the aerospace industry. These unique internship opportunities help students learn and evolve with the ever-changing manufacturing, research, and fabrication environments, as well as the skills, needed in the High Desert.

Two BCC students, Alia Allen and Angel Armenta enrolled in the Industrial Maintenance program at the College, were selected for the pilot internship with Exquadrum.

“Internships are an excellent way for students to learn about the fields they are pursuing and to get first-hand experience applying the skills acquired in the classroom. I encourage every student to find internship opportunities and to take advantage of that time to learn and grow,” says Eric Schmidt, President and Co-founder of Exquadrum.

Joshua O’Neal, Adjunct Professor of Welding and Industrial Maintenance at BCC, has been alongside these students during the project, is fascinated by the work being done at Exquadrum and sees the value in this opportunity for his students. “Learning a trade requires precise attention to detail, manual dexterity, ability to work in temperature extreme environments, ability to work in difficult positions for extended periods of time, ability to operate multiple hand and power tools proficiently, identify construction materials, read blueprints, read electrical schematics, and read hydraulic schematics. You must have good communication skills, both written and verbal, and most importantly you need to have a safety-oriented, team player attitude, always. These attributes have been demonstrated by Barstow Community College students.”

The college says that thanks to community partnerships with companies like Exquadrum, Barstow Community College students are turning their CTE skills and education into full-time employment and are hitting the ground running in their new career paths in the High Desert. BCC also says its proud to share that one of the students involved in the internship has been offered full-time employment with Exquadrum.

“Education is the single biggest means by which to elevate our community and bring prosperity to our family and friends. Exquadrum is pleased to be part of Barstow Community College’s program to help their students in the Mojave River Valley,” says Eric Schmidt.

To learn more about these amazing internship experiences or if you are looking to develop your workforce skills through BCC’s CTE Workforce Development Programs go to:

For additional information please contact Amanda Simpson – Director of Public Relations, Communications, and Marketing, at 760-252-2411 ext. 7348 or by email at