Mission College President Laurel Jones returned to campus mid-April from the White House where she had the opportunity to highlight the Mission College Center for Innovation and Technology (MC2IT) during a summit that focused on entrepreneurship and innovation in higher education.
Her comments as a panelist at the White House Summit on Entrepreneurship for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority Serving Institutions provided the only perspective from a California school, as well as the only one from a community college. Most of the other panelists were from East Coast universities, many of which are focusing on creating entrepreneurship courses that teach students how to launch their own start-ups, Jones said. By contrast, MC2IT allows businesses to be instrumental in students’ educational plans.
“It was really amazing that we were one of the few institutions that had a very different approach to entrepreneurism and innovation,” said Jones, who was invited to speak by Rep. Mike Honda’s office. “Those in attendance were quite impressed that we are looking at entrepreneurism from the perspective of having businesses being prescriptive in student education.”
The half-day event drew about 200 people from colleges and universities, the business community and government. Jones said she received kudos for Mission College’s MC2IT approach, particularly from those representing businesses.
Jones launched the nonprofit MC2IT last fall with the dual aim of helping students and the local business community. As one part of the organization, students work directly with high tech companies on “back burner” projects they would like completed but don’t have the time or employees to do themselves. MC2IT also hosts a speaker series aimed at young executives in the area.
Also as part of MC2IT, Jones plans to establish an incubator lab on campus where students can work on projects and young executives can have plug-and-play access to work, think about their own projects and to network.
As part of her panel comments, Jones spoke about MC2IT in relation to the college’s focus on science, technology, engineering and math majors and making sure underrepresented students have access to those opportunities.