West Hills College Lemoore students recently collaborated with the Kings County Farm Bureau on a unique project: a map of farm stands in Kings County. The map includes 22 farm stands throughout Hanford and Lemoore.
The project began when West Hills College Lemoore approached Kings County Farm Bureau to be a partner in creating and launching a planned Agriculture Business program, which is set to begin in Fall 2018.
The concept of Internship Level Projects emerged, partnerships where West Hills College Lemoore students work on a project under the guidance and supervision of an industry partner, Kings County Farm Bureau in this case. West Hills College Lemoore faculty member, Tony Oliveira provided faculty mentoring and project management oversight. The students enroll in a Work Experience class at WHCL and earn a unit of credit if they complete at least 60 hours in the internship level project.
“It is a WIN-WIN as the business partner gets to move forward with a project that they don’t have the bandwidth to do, and the students get real-world project management and industry experience that they can use to build their resume and job readiness skills,” said Kris Costa, Dean of Career Technical Education at West Hills College Lemoore.
Students helped to compile and design the map, which features addresses and names of local farm stands in Hanford and Lemoore. The students visited each farm stand and added several more to the list of stands and plotted each on GPS and took a photo. They then plotted each site on a conventional map and worked with a local artist to paint a rendering of the map. They then worked with a printer to produce the final product. The students also built a website for the farm stand product and published it.
By the end, the students had put more than 600 combined hours of work into the project.
The idea for students to work on the project came after a conversation with the Farm Bureau’s Communication Director, Barbara Martin.
“This is an easy way for our business partners to engage with our student population and learn about how talented they are,” said Costa. “We have so many students with incredible skills and abilities. An internship level project allows them to hone those skills as well as put them to work in the service of or local community partners and build their resume as a result.”
The WHCL students who worked on the project were: Robert Trevino, John Cortez, Eric Martinez, Julie Duty, Laura Picazo, Xochitl Picazo, and Maritsa Villegas.