The Clean and Green Dream: Internship experience at LACI By Erick Hernandez

Although college is often credited as one of the most influential factors in a young person’s life, internships don’t receive nearly as much credit as they should for the value they carry. Internships allow students to discover their passions, gain field experience, and create networking connections for future job opportunities.

Learn More about LACI on their website: Los Angeles Cleanteach Incubator and read about Erick's experience with LACI!






Why internships in college are important:

I am so glad to have connected with LACI when I did. After completing their 3 month APC fellowship technical bootcamp I received a certification for completion of a full stack fundamentals 8 week course that entailed the basic fundamentals for Javascript, HTML, and CSS. In a partnership with Nuleep, LACI provided me with a multi-tiered workforce training program that provided technical training, interpersonal skills, and industry-recognized certifications to succeed in the green economy. This program, after all, wanted to pair participants with LACI startups and expose them to internships and job opportunities-all part of their mission to build an inclusive green economy. Luckily, I became one of the fifteen graduates that is participating in an internship now at the APC (Advanced Prototyping Center) located on their campus LA Kretz. Alongside another graduate, we are both navigating machine shops and different labs at the center and gaining experience with 3D models and printing. We receive technical support and continuing education from two amazing staff at LACI. I really could have not asked for a better program to be a part of. LACI really made things easy for us during the pandemic and kept us involved with many more companies and peoples to make connections and find out where we fit in a green inclusive economy. Out in the real world, I think there really are no other organizations like LACI that are on a mission to bring more POC into clean tech, while offering supporting courses, career coaching, and career fairs, all for free. The LACI team with all it’s tenacity is spearheading the transition into a greener economy here in Los Angeles, and who wouldn’t want to be a part of it. We have one planet, it’s our job to take up the responsibility and do what we can to help create an environmentally sustainable economy.

The opportunity to work with an organization such as LACI has not only been an honor, but a true privilege. During these unprecedented times, the ability to intern and pursue fellowships has not been easily accessible, and this makes our time spent with LACI just that much more valuable. LACI has allowed us to not only work within the software development sector but has also opened the door to various networking opportunities with professionals involved in the clean technology sector. I’d especially like to thank Ms. Wilberta and the Holdman CDC, who saw my interest in clean technology and encouraged me to apply for the internship at LACI. Ms. Wilberta has always shown a keen interest in her student’s success, and always encouraged us to strive toward our goals and passions in making the world a truly better place. My time working with LACI has been an absolute pleasure, and has truly changed my life in more ways than I can count. It is because of time working alongside the organization that I am greatly determined and optimistic toward using STEM to create a more clean and green society.

As a student attending UC Riverside, I had discovered early on in my academic career that I wanted to devote my studies to the clean technology sector, with the intention of helping to make a positive and sustainable impact on my community and the future. The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) had been a recurring theme throughout my search for organizations that closely aligned with my goals and intentions for the future and provided myself with the perfect balance of both gaining experience in the field of clean technology, as well as networking and learning about the different opportunities within the sector. Even throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, LACI had continued to educate, innovate, and inspire their community to strive toward a cleaner and greener future. 

Why others should try to connect with LACI:

The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) gives grassroot programs and organizations the opportunity to work with stakeholders in the clean technology sector in order to promote a more sustainable society. Smart and sustainable cities, 100% clean energy, and zero emissions transportation systems are just a few of the priority areas LACI works toward implementing throughout communities across the city. LACI also places a great deal of emphasis on striving toward their goals such as cleaner air quality and social equity, GHG emissions, and promoting clean energy jobs throughout the economy by the use of education, research and development, and campaigning. 

One of the greatest benefits of being a fellow with LACI was the opportunity to gain first-hand experience within the field of clean technology.The fellowship has provided me with experience needed to enter the clean technology sector after earning my degree. As a member of the Latinx community, it’s really important to me to be involved with organizations and companies that promote and celebrate diversity. In fact, one of LACI’s major interests is to recruit and promote people of color toward the clean technology job market. 

When working with our department, LACI was really great about providing resume workshops with industry leaders and specialists. We were also offered career coaching with a wonderful asset to the organization, Evette. She made it quite evident that not only does one need to have an idea of who they are, but also establish dreams and goals that they wish to accomplish in life. Evette’s guidance and coaching helped each of us, despite our different career goals and studies, to realize that we wanted to become involved with helping stop climate change; particularly in connection to electric vehicles and the clean technology sector. 

Why and how future students should apply for internships or other programs at LACI:

An internship would bring great value to a future career in clean technology for numerous reasons. Clean technology is a rapidly growing sector with numerous opportunities to help better the environment with sustainable practices. An internship in clean technology with LACI can help prepare anyone for future careers, as clean and sustainable practices are in high demand in many areas of the country, as well as the world. Through their training programs of software development and cyber security one can hope to achieve the ability to enhance their programming skills, network with professionals in the field, explore potential career options, and develop and refine their professional skills. Participating in an internship would help to not only gain new skills and perspectives associated with clean technology, but also witness the positive impacts that clean technology can have throughout society and the world.

Learn More about LACI on their website: Los Angeles Cleanteach Incubator