Shining a Light on Career Preparation Programs at Moorpark College

It’s called “BUS M80: Internship in Business” on the course catalog. But the formal designation hardly does justice to the impact Moorpark College’s comprehensive internship program is having on career education in the region.

Just look at the numbers:

  • $5 – The increase in hourly wage for those who have completed their internship and career education program.
  • 33% – The increase in hourly wages for those who have completed a Moorpark College internship and career education program.
  • 77% – Respondents who were employed after completing their program.
  • 93% – Respondents who reported being ‘very satisfied’ or ‘satisfied’ with their internship and career education program.

“Sometimes,” said Robert Cabral, Moorpark College’s Interim Dean of Student Learning, Physical Sciences & Career Education, “the story that has not been told is the success of career education.”

Cabral and others spoke at a March 9 webinar titled “Career Preparation: Cultivating Career Ready Students” that detailed Moorpark College’s successful efforts, with a focus on its robust internship program.

Moorpark College’s success is rooted in its collaboration with Ventura County industry leaders to increase the number of employer partnerships while decreasing equity gaps for disproportionately impacted students. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Moorpark College worked with the Ventura County Workforce Development Board to identify businesses that applied for federal Small Business Administration loans, then leveraged the college’s resources to provide interns at small businesses and start-ups in high-poverty areas an opportunity to secure invaluable on-the-job training while supporting employers struggling to survive.

Among the hundreds of business and industry leaders working with Moorpark College to provide and build internships are Allied Universal, Amgen, the City of Malibu, the City of Moorpark, IBM, the Department of Rehabilitation, Takeda Pharmaceutical Company, Thermo-Fisher Scientific, the Ventura County Workforce Development Board, 3C-REN,  the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department, and all three Naval Warfare Centers & local military defense contractors in Ventura County.

“We don’t do this alone,” Cabral said. “We work with a lot of key folks in our industry and in our region.”

Internships are critical, Cabral and others say. Not only do they provide on-the-job training, but students who have served as interns typically have higher GPAs, as the skills they learn at a job site can be directly applied to lessons in a classroom. Internships also strengthen a resume and often lead to job opportunities.

Internships run for 12 weeks each semester. Students can earn up to four units in spring and fall, and up to eight units during the summer. Credits are transferable to any California State University campus as elective courses. Some 150 Moorpark College students are serving as interns this spring, and 110 have signed up so far for the summer.

Shaun Kinsey, who earned a certificate of achievement in audio, is a believer.

“It’s fantastic,” said the former radio station intern and current on-air host in describing the Moorpark College program. “It provides you with a lot of great mentors, from your worksite supervisor to your faculty advisor.”

Moorpark College leveraged Strong Workforce Program (SWP) dollars to help seed and cultivate its extensive internship opportunities, surpassing SWP goals to develop “more and better” career education courses, programs, and pathways. In addition, “BUS M80: Internship in Business” is meeting several goals in the California Community Colleges’ Vision for Success, including significantly increasing the percentage of CTE students who report being employed in their field of study.

Internships, however, are just one element in Moorpark College’s career education programs. The college offers 29 career education programs that include 17 associate degrees in 11 different industry sectors. Certificate programs, meanwhile, can be completed within one or two semesters.

Moorpark College also works closely with local middle and high schools. “Over 220 middle school students and 240 high school students participated in Career Education Day last March,” stated Dr. Celine Park, Job Developer at Moorpark College. We also partnered with the Department of Rehabilitation to facilitate the Career & Internship Expo to provide students who qualify for ACCESS with paid internships and employment opportunities. This year, we had 682 attendees registered for Career Week.” Additionally, we facilitated many workshops, including an Entertainment Industry Panel and Guided Pathways Alumni Health Industry Panel Forum.











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