COC, city partner to create building inspection internships

College of the Canyons student Jennifer Turcios is a building inspection intern for the City of Santa Clarita. Courtesy of College of the Canyons

After the successful rollout of an automotive technology internship program offered through the City of Santa Clarita in February, College of the Canyons has launched a second internship program with the City for students interested in building inspection careers.

The internship program, which launched this summer, is giving three COC building inspection students the opportunity to ride along for inspections, assist at the City counter with plan-checks, and learn about customer service to experience the practical side of building codes.

“It’s been working well,” said Chuck Strong, Supervising Building Inspector for the City of Santa Clarita. “They get to ride with seasoned building inspectors and get a glimpse of what it’s really like. This program will get them going on the right path by helping them see what they have to know by working one-on-one with inspectors in the field.”

Through these internships facilitated by the COC internship program, Cooperative Work Experience Education (CWEE), the City demonstrates a commitment to civic engagement and the value of offering opportunities for students in career related programs.

“These internships are well thought out and include the most important element, mentoring,” said Gina Bogna, Assistant Dean of Internships, Job Development and Career Center. “Mentoring is the crux of an internship that sets itself apart from internships where the student does menial tasks such as fetching coffee or paper shredding.”

For COC student Jennifer Turcios, the internship is exactly what she was looking for to return to the workforce.

“I’m a mom who is returning back to my field and needed to get updated on building laws that changed in January,” said Turcios, who will be earning an associate of science degree in construction management at COC in June.

Every week, Turcios and the other two COC student interns are assigned to a City building inspector and have the chance to work at different construction sites.

The internship has given Turcios a more comprehensive approach to building, allowing her to learn about plumbing, electricity, framing and foundation, and geology.

“Everything I have learned in class, I am visually seeing it,” said Turcios. “My professors at COC did a good job bringing real life scenarios into the classroom. They are really well-versed and knowledgeable.”

COC veteran student Chris Dellefield also appreciates how the internship is providing him with invaluable hands-on experience from seasoned professionals.

“This is what I wanted to do since I left the military,” said Dellefield, who is also working toward earning a building inspection certificate at COC. “You understand more when you are out here, to see all the stuff done in person.”

Turcios, who is also working toward earning a certificate in building inspection at COC, loves the internship program so much she hopes to be able to repeat the experience in the fall.

“I recommend it to anyone interested in building inspection,” said Turcios. “The inspectors are really nice and use everything as a teachable moment. Every moment they are teaching me.”

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