zoom meetingA new partnership between San Bernardino Valley College and Introducing Youth to American Infrastructure (Iyai+) is bringing awareness to students about the different job opportunities available in the transport and energy sectors.

 Iyai+ is a national nonprofit that strives to inspire young people — especially those from historically underrepresented groups, like women and people of color — to start careers in the country's critical infrastructure sectors. This fall, SBVC and Iyai+ launched their first lecture series, bringing representatives from 20 participating organizations — including Metrolink, Southern California Edison, Caltrans, and Omnitrans — to campus, where they discuss career possibilities, internships, and scholarships.

About 60 students have attended each session so far this semester, Dean of Academic Success & Learning Services Patty Quach said, finding the presentations informative and interactive.

"Students have an opportunity to hear a lot of new techniques, equipment, or unpublished data," Quach added. "In addition, they get to hear this through leaders in the field they're pursuing. Through each session, students become aware of scholarship and internship opportunities, along with getting ahead of the competition because of the unique interaction from the facilitators."

The partnership between the college and Iyai+ formed in September 2020, when SBVC Vice President of Instruction Dina Humble met Iyai+ Founder and CEO Beverly Scott at a workforce development webinar. Having started pilot programs in Washington, D.C., and Chicago, Scott was excited to collaborate with SBVC and establish a base of operation in California.

"SBVC's depth of expertise, experience, and results in career technical education; the need and strength of the Inland Empire and Southern California region as an economic engine and critical opportunity zone; and the 'can do' community spirit of Berdoo were the deciding factors," Scott said.

At the conclusion of the series, students who have attended at least five sessions and submit a video by Dec. 14 will be entered into a drawing to win a swag bag and chance to apply for a paid internship.