community partner: hartnell college

Chevron has been supporting Hartnell College since 2006, when the first Chevron Energy STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Scholarship was awarded to one of Hartnell’s students.

Today, Chevron helps fund the college’s STEM undergraduate research internship program that provides more than 120 students with an eight-week, full-time paid internship working directly with scientists, engineers and technology professionals to gain important real-world experience for their careers.

“We’ve established a robust community of learning for our students that’s built on peer mentorship, an outstanding strategy for low-income and under-represented communities at a time when we’re trying to increase the diversity of the STEM workforce,” said Jacqueline (Jackie) Cruz, VP of advancement and development for the Hartnell College Foundation. “I’m a Hartnell alum, so I have a very deep appreciation for what we can do to change the trajectory of people’s lives. That’s why I really enjoy working with Chevron, because what they give extends beyond philanthropy and into workforce partnerships.”

One of her favorite aspects of the partnership is the STEM workshop for K–12 students held at the annual Air Show in Salinas. Each year, 500 students are able to engage directly with engineers, pilots and ground crews to learn about aviation.

“It brings kids from the most remote areas of our county, like San Ardo and San Lucas, who otherwise wouldn’t have access to that kind of programming or direct access to professionals in the field.”

Chevron also helps sponsor the college’s annual ag-tech summit, which focuses on innovative solutions to producing and harvesting the Salinas Valley crops that feed the world.

There is a huge need to automate and upgrade the different systems involved in farming in the Salinas Valley, one of the largest producers of leafy greens and strawberries in the country.

Water shortages are a constant issue, and there’s an ongoing labor shortage, Cruz says, making automation a necessity. That means the industry also will need people to design, install and operate those new systems.

“We work with the industry to improve the skills of the workforce so they can fill jobs that are going to be needed with that new technology,” she said. “We’re really appreciative to Chevron for helping us bring together entrepreneurs, technologists and agriculturalists to look for solutions in ag-tech.”