Saint Mary’s College Collaborates With Cisco To Launch New Career Entry Internship Initiative

Saint Mary’s College of California and Cisco have formed ACES© (Accelerated Career Entry for Students), a unique multi-stage four-year internship program that provides career preparation opportunities for students, particularly students who are underserved and underrepresented in fields such as information technology. A cohort of Saint Mary’s students — many of whom come from diverse backgrounds — are participating in the pilot summer program, which began on June 6 and runs until Aug. 19, 2016.

Saint Mary’s Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Bethami Dobkin said the new initiative reflects both the College’s Catholic and Lasallian mission of inclusive excellence and its commitment to student success through distinctive academic offerings and outcomes-focused professional internships. 

“This partnership illustrates Cisco’s recognition of the insight, creative capital and intellectual power diverse individuals bring to its industry,” said Dobkin. “It’s an innovative program that improves the caliber of new entrants to their company, and benefits from the genuine interest from Cisco employees in mentoring talented Saint Mary’s students. We are tremendously proud of the ACES internship program with Cisco.”  

The distinctive career pathway program provides students with valuable real world experience through a variety of professional development opportunities, including individualized coaching at Saint Mary’s and structured and informal mentoring at Cisco. “We are pleased to work with Saint Mary’s on developing the digital workforce of the future,” said Maryanne Flynn, Cisco’s Director of IT Talent Services.

ACES focuses on developing and enhancing student skills, while exposing them to a world-of-work experience. The pilot program provides full-time, compensated internships for students who began as first year students in 2015. As interns with ACES, students increase their business acumen and develop leadership and digital skills for a 21st century workplace.

Upon completion of the first-year summer internship, ACES students will have gained an understanding of Cisco organizational structures, business units, key roles and responsibilities of business leaders. In the second year, they’ll build on their experiences through networking and building rapport with junior and senior Cisco mentors. By the third year, they’ll develop a job search plan in alignment with their personal, professional and academic goals. In their senior year, students will have integrated the benefits of the internship into their overall lives and secured full-time employment in high tech industries. 

For more information about ACES, contact Saint Mary's Assistant Vice Provost for Student Success Tracy Pascua Dea at (925) 631-4349 or by email at tjp2@stmarys-ca.edu