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February 24, 2006
DH 06 RH10
Contact: Russ Hudson,
Media Relations Coordinator
(310) 243-2455/2001

CSUDH Authors Grant that Can Save Money, Waste on
Military Aircraft

Carson, CA— A $130,000 grant has been won from Boeing Company’s Boeing Army Systems by a consortium of minority-serving California State University campuses and community colleges to upgrade machinists’ skills with computer-run machines. The same grant will provide hands-on industry experience for students and faculty.

The grant was co-authored by Mohsen Beheshti, chair and professor, Computer Science, and Clementine Sessoms, director of development, College of Natural and Behavioral Sciences, both at CSUDH. The program will be based on the CSUDH campus, but additional locations for classes and training will be determined. Others in the consortium—called the Western States Minority Serving Institutions Research, Technology, and Training Consortium (MSIRTTC)—include the CSU Fullerton and Los Angeles campuses, and the Compton and Coastline community colleges.

The primary goal of the program to provide technology training for the employees of Pacific Contours Aerospace Machining and Assembly. Pacific Contours is a two-generation family-owned business whose products, such as titanium parts for Boeing’s C-17 aircraft and its Joint Strike Fighter, are in high demand in the aerospace industry. While the machining trade has historically been comprised of skills handed down largely from expert to apprentice, the new computer technology in the machining industry has necessitated an upgrade in skills for even the most accomplished machinists.

“Having machinists is a necessity,” says Beheshti. “There aren’t that many anymore. Because this [Pacific Contours] manufacturing is an Army-related activity, it has to be done in the United States, so you can’t outsource the work.”

Adds Sessoms, “One little mistake can make a whole batch useless. And you can’t recycle the materials. That’s why this is so important.”

Mistakes on some of the fighter-jet parts can be very costly, Beheshti says: “One wrong adjustment can cost up to $18,000.”

A Technology Based Machining (TBM) Certificate can be earned by taking seven courses with curriculum developed by faculty members from the members of the consortium. The first TBM certificates could be awarded as early as spring 2007 by CSUDH. The courses, which include information management; security, safety and quality assurance; and machine programming, will be offered to students as well as to Pacific Contours employees. A summer internship for students will provide opportunities such as computer training of Pacific Contours employees and revamping the company’s Website.

According to Sessoms, the chance for CSU and community college students to get their first taste of the industrial environment would introduce career options that they hadn’t considered before.

“Students will have an undergraduate degree and exposure to what machinists know,” she says, “and these workers are in high demand. The salaries are great in that area, and the opportunities are wide open.”
California State University, Dominguez Hills
University Communications & Public Affairs
Welch Hall, B-363

Dominguez Hills Dateline is produced by University Advancement/ University Communications
& Public Affairs

Media Contact:

Russell Hudson
University Communications
& Public Affairs
(310) 243-2455


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Last updated February 24, 12:28 p.m.,
by Joanie Harmon