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Local college students earn STEM related internships

This year, students from College of the Sequoias spent more than 100 hours each as interns at businesses across Tulare and Kings counties.

These students participated in the Edison International Internship Scholarship program, which supports students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) related majors. Through this program, 19 budding professionals got a hands-on chance to sample their intended career. 

Javier Salazar from Hanford, an industrial maintenance technology major, interned at California Dairies Inc.

“Every day I learned something new. It has been a great thing for me,” Salazar said.

Because of his internship experience, Salazar is now a full-time employee with the company.

Arthur Velasquez, an information technology major, completed his internship in the computer services department at the college itself. 

“With teamwork, we accomplished much more than we originally planned with what we were going to learn,” Velasquez said. “I have an interest in programming business software now and have different avenues of exploration for my future career.”

Student Success Coordinator Loren Kelly helped connect the students with industry professionals. 

“It is an excellent opportunity for students to gain working experience,” Kelly said.

Hanford businesses like Central Valley Meat Co. and Leprino Foods Co. have embraced the program, offering internships and an opportunity to network with them. 

As the fall semester wraps up, the scholarship program is set to begin again in January. To help students interested in signing up, the Visalia COS campus will be holding a Manufacturing Day event on Oct. 5. Students can bring their resumes and practice networking with industry professionals.

The Edison Scholarship Program is an annual collaborative project between the Tulare-Kings College and Career Collaborative, the Tulare County Office of Education, College of the Sequoias, Porterville College and Edison International.

Corcoran proceeds with caution on cannabis

CORCORAN — The city of Corcoran may follow in Hanford’s footsteps as it considers allowing cannabis businesses within city limits.

Corcoran City Manager Kindon Meik said the discussions started in June, when the City Council received word that commercial cannabis companies were interested in locating within the city.

Last week, council held a study session on commercial and personal adult-use cannabis legislation, along with policy options available to the city.

The study session included a policy workshop presented by David McPherson, the cannabis compliance director at HdL Companies, a Southern California-based consulting firm. McPherson has worked closely with Hanford in the past on marijuana regulation.

McPherson said his presentation focuses on four core values: commercial and residential land use, public safety, environmental impact and access to youth. He said he takes these values and tailors them to the priorities of individual cities.

Most citizens make assumptions about the marijuana industry based on what they have seen in the past, McPherson said, which he describes as an “unregulated and unlawful industry.” He said he tries to show them what a lawful, legal and regulated environment can look like.

“We work with a lot of smaller cities on their concerns and issues,” McPherson said. “We don’t encourage or discourage the industry. We offer objective information.”

Meik said McPherson was very complimentary of Hanford’s “methodical and incremental” approach to commercial cannabis. He said Hanford has done well by limiting the number of business permits and only allowing them to set up in designated locations.

At this point, Meik said the city hasn’t gotten as far as determining what will be allowed — recreational or strictly medical — he only knows for sure that dispensaries would still not be allowed within the city.

Visits to cultivation sites are likely to happen in the future, Meik said. He said it would be beneficial to understand first-hand how the businesses operate.

“It will give council the ability to counter misconceptions,” Meik said.

While no decisions have been made, a follow-up workshop in the form of a town hall meeting is planned for late October. The council wants to make sure the public is educated and able to voice their concerns, ask questions and weigh in on the issues, Meik said.