SMC Energy

SMC synergy with Chamber connects academics, new industries

Students at Santa Monica College (SMC) have a multitude of future options while at the higher education institution. The school offers programs in newly-expanding industries, and also acts as a successful feeder program for other universities. Its status as a feeder of intelligent youth also applies to the workforce, which is where a key SMC partner stepped in to strengthen the college’s bridges to innovative job positions.

Last month, the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce announced a new collaboration with SMC, launching the Chamber Talent Connect program for SMC students and local Santa Monica businesses. Beginning with a webinar in December on the topic of cloud computing, the program connects students with internships, jobs and interviews for businesses in forward-thinking fields like cloud computing, biotechnology and “blue economy” or aquaculture-related positions. Not only do businesses benefit from the intern and workforce pipeline, they can also help craft SMC’s existing and upcoming programs with valuable input.

In launching the program, Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce CEO Judy Kruger stated that the Chamber and SMC are “ensuring that [SMC] students are well-equipped to thrive in the rapidly changing economy.”

“Our mission is to nurture and grow vibrant businesses, and one big part of that is giving them the pathway to find and retain great talent,” Kruger said in noting the program’s positives. “That’s what Santa Monica College puts out with its internships and career placement. We know the leaders at [SMC], and we’ve had multiple conversations about what does [SMC] need? What does the Chamber need? And then out of those two conversations came the program.”

The program was co-created by the Chamber’s Alex Brown, who considered it a “necessary foresight” to align students with the constantly shifting labor market. Brown said the goal of the program is “twofold,” ensuring that SMC curriculum is “future proof” because “industries are constantly changing,” along with strengthening local workforce development.