Solano EDC, Solano College partner on new fellowship program

April 02 2022

Solano EDC, Solano College partner on new fellowship program

Daily Republic By 

FAIRFIELD — The Solano County Economic Development Corp. is building a partnership with Solano Community College to allow underserved students a chance to gain valuable business experience.

A fellowship has been formed to offer students of low to moderate incomes the chance at a 10-week internship. It will feature a $2,500 stipend coming from a $12,500 contribution made by Kaiser Permanente to help get the program started.

The pilot program will feature three students this summer who will work early June until mid-August. The fellowship will allow these students the opportunity to learn, earn money and college credit.

“When I was working in LA, I learned a lot about the community colleges,” said new Solano EDC President and CEO Chris Rico. “I learned that folks in the two-year institutions are kind of disconnected from opportunities to those offered at the four-year institutions. It has a lot to do with socio-economics and not having a place to network in general.”

Rico took the helm of the Solano EDC in January. The EDC board of directors chairwoman is Celia Esposito-Noy, the president and superintendent of Solano Community College. They agreed the partnership on this new program made too much sense.

“We had talks about what he could do here for that kind of student,” Rico said. “She was excited about doing this. It feels like a real win-win situation. I think it can be a real conduit to the business community and serve as a talent pipeline.”

Rico feels the partnership with the Solano EDC works well because of its connection to local businesses, both for-profit and nonprofit companies, with its board members all part of the regional business community.

Rico hopes in the future that the program can grow to three times a year and continue to help students who desire a future in the economic and business industry to have valuable experience.

“We want this to be a prestigious fellowship for folks not able to get prestigious fellowships,” Rico said.

The three new participants were nominated. Any future fellowship recipients will be chosen through an application process.

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