Barstow Community College Welcomes Partnerships with Fort Irwin Army Training Base

Nestled in the Mojave Desert hills, overlooking wide-open valleys, sits the Fort Irwin National Army Training Base. Less than 40 miles away, you can find Barstow Community College — well-equipped with students ready to break ground in a high-powered career pathway.

Thanks to a new partnership, Fort Irwin and BCC are joining forces to help streamline career-ready students into the regional workforce, starting at the Base. Fort Irwin and Barstow Community College signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) back in January to work together in supporting the continued development of career-focused programming between the BCC and the Army Training Base. 

“This expanded partnership with U.S. Army National Training [Base] will allow for our BCC students to have internships and a career pipeline for positions at Fort Irwin,” says BCC’s Executive Dean of Strategic Partnerships and Workforce Development, Dr. Crystal Nasio. “Each agreement is unique and can allow for classroom and skills experience, or paid internships.”

The Cosmetology and Child Development programs are the first at BCC to launch in the Fort Irwin partnership. Both programs welcome BCC students and alumni to earn credit, experience, and even a paycheck, while working in positions at the Fort Irwin Base.

“The Child Development alumni and students are working in the Child Youth Services Programs,” explains Dr. Nasio. “[These students] are paid employees of Fort Irwin.”

Cosmetology students are also gaining hands-on experience by working in a salon setting on the Base and providing haircuts to military service members and their families.

“These haircut days are an outstanding experience for the students,” Dr. Nasio said. “They have an opportunity to run a salon for the day, serve clients and bring smiles to the faces of those they give haircuts.”

Participating Cosmetology students can apply these salon hours toward their program, where they can eventually earn their license as a cosmetologist. Licensed cosmetologists open their career possibilities and can work virtually in any environment, including spas, salons, hotels, and resorts.

The partnership with Fort Irwin is also giving Barstow Community College Child Development

students the chance to put their skills into practice by gaining real-world experience in valuable internship positions on the Army Training Base.

“This partnership opens doors for BCC students who are studying Early Childhood Education with one of the most highly regarded and largest Child Development organizations in the country, and around the world, Army Child and Youth Services (CYS),” boasts William “Zev” Paul, BCC Child Development Professor.

Paul further explains that students in the program can complete internships at the CYS Child Development Center on the Base, which count towards required practicum hours in the program at BCC.

The BCC Professor notes that the opportunity at CYS supports students by “gaining real-world, hands-on experience and advancing in a National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) accredited program, while moving them closer to achieving their AA degrees.”

Once students complete their internship, there is a possibility of being onboarded to work as full-time employees on the Fort Irwin Base. Additionally, the internship positions are helping give students’ resumes a well-deserved boost.

“Having completed their internships with CYS gives BCC students an immediate competitive edge in the hiring process,” states Paul.

“I see this opportunity as a perfect combination of theoretical classroom studies and practical experience that is invaluable to students in both the classroom and in the CDC [Child Development Center].”

While both the college’s Cosmetology and Child Development programs continue to grow, these pathways only signal the beginning of career possibilities through the valuable Fort Irwin and BCC partnership. With more programs expected to flow from BCC into the Base, Dr. Nasio is confident that both Fort Irwin and the surrounding community will reap the benefits within their regional workforce.

“The MOU signals an important change to BCC and [the] U.S. Army National Training Center relationship. BCC is focused on the rapid response to employment needs at the Fort,” she said.

“This agreement signals an opportunity for more internship programs and career placement. … This [partnership] allows for more rapid response to employment needs.”