Orange County Public Works Helps Develop OC’s AI-Skilled Talent Pipeline Through Student Micro-internships in Geospatial AI

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Orange County Public Works Helps Develop OC’s AI-Skilled Talent Pipeline Through Student Micro-internships in Geospatial AI

In the summer of 2023, CEO Leadership Alliance Orange County (CLAOC) and Orange County Public Works (OCPW) launched their pilot AI micro-internship program tailored for rising high school seniors in Orange County. Over the span of six weeks, 11 exceptional students from 9 different Orange County high schools were given the opportunity to delve deep into the world of artificial intelligence (AI) and digital transformation.

Along with developing AI skills, they contributed to a diverse set of innovative projects that not only showcased the diverse skill sets of the students but demonstrated their commitment to addressing critical issues within Orange County. Projects included providing valuable tools for understanding and managing flood severity, wildfire hazards, traffic accidents, and COVID-19 data.

This AI-centered internship was one of many hosted by OC employers in 2023, part of a larger initiative designed to move the county toward an aggressive goal to provide work-based learning opportunities to 20,000 students in OC by 2030. This will help students build the skills and connections they need to secure high-paying innovation jobs and build a strong tech talent pipeline for OC companies. 

The innovative internship at OCPW emphasized the application of geospatial AI and machine learning, equipping the next generation with the pivotal knowledge needed to shape smart cities. Through immersive, hands-on experiences, the interns actively participated in data collection, management, analytics at the county level. Students also gained insights into how AI is revolutionizing fields like surveying, spatial mapping, and the creation of digital twins. 

The comprehensive, hands-on training included asynchronous online modules with in-class sessions and fieldwork. Spending a large part of the experience on-site at OCPW’s Glassel campus and County Administration South building students mastered data capture techniques using cutting-edge tools like the Total Station, LiDAR, and other positioning system devices. Two dedicated sessions developed their proficiency in drone reality capture, flight design, and execution. All these skills were then tested in the real world, as they undertook drone field research at the scenic Mile Square Regional Park. The data they collected not only supplemented their classroom learning but also mirrored OCPW’s extensive Geographical Information Systems (GIS) open data portal, emphasizing the real-world impact of their efforts. 

Along with in-class and field training, students kickstarted their virtual learning with an introduction to ArcGIS Pro, a GIS mapping software used for spatial data analysis, with the purpose of simplifying data engineering and incorporating it into solving everyday problems. They then delved into the realm of Python, a potent programming language that complements ArcGIS Pro, offering automation capabilities. Students earned online certifications for several of these programs.

Students also learned a variety of their additional tools on web mapping and survey development, distribution and analysis. Students were also introduced to advanced GIS techniques, such as space-time analysis, which equipped them with innovative analytical capabilities. With the knowledge and skills they’ve acquired, these interns aren’t just ready for the future—they’re poised to redefine it. They stand at the cusp of shaping smart cities and propelling their careers to unprecedented heights.

As the final projects for the micro internship, students worked in three different groups according to their work interests. Students were given the responsibility to pick what OCPW data set they wanted to work with in order to develop project rationale and a project workflow framework. Final projects created by the students included:

Prior to the AI micro internship, CLAOC and OCPW also collaborated on promoting digital transformation by bringing together prominent OC business leaders and community stakeholders on April 27, 2023 for a panel regarding digital twins. The primary agenda of this gathering was to enlighten the broader OC community about the transformative potential of digital twins, their diverse applications, and OCPW’s ongoing initiatives to incorporate digital transformation throughout the county.  The event spotlighted an esteemed panel featuring: Dr. Kostas Alexandridis (GIS Analyst, Orange County Public Works); Katerina Milovanoska (Director, Gafcon Digital); Keith Strier (Vice President of Worldwide AI Initiatives, NVIDIA); and their moderator, Jasmine Pachnanda (COO, CLAOC). With a wealth of knowledge and experience among them, the panelists delved deep into contemporary AI trends and highlighted how digital twins are poised to redefine the future business landscape.

In addition to outreach in the business community, members of OCPW have also guest lectured on smart cities and career paths in AI for CLAOC’s Careers in AI program. This program, created in partnership with Intel and Coastline ROP, offers high school students a deep dive into the AI industry and different career paths.  Encompassing core AI concepts, real world applications, ethical considerations, regulations, and professional standards, the curriculum leverages Intel’s AI for Workforce Awareness and Foundations modules. This comprehensive learning experience is further enriched with guest speaker presentations, like OCPW’s team, enabling students to engage with industry and local communities on issues surrounding AI. 

CLAOC remains committed to building a thriving OC for all through our AI Talent Lab. Our vision extends beyond the present, as we aim to persistently provide expansive educational resources and champion AI’s potential for innovation. Guided by our commitment to nurturing young talent, we are planning a series of community events aimed at promoting AI awareness and expertise. Looking ahead, summer 2024 holds particular promise, as we prepare to welcome a new group of high school students in our OCPW micro internship program, further fostering their budding interests in AI. 

As CLAOC and OCPW continue their synergistic partnership, the horizon looks promising for AI innovation and education in Orange County. We are not merely fostering technological innovation, but also cultivating a community ethos centered on accessibility, education, and progress. 

Share This Post

Orange County Public Works Helps Develop OC’s AI-Skilled Talent Pipeline Through Student Micro-internships in Geospatial AI

In the summer of 2023, CEO Leadership Alliance Orange County (CLAOC) and Orange County Public Works (OCPW) launched their pilot AI micro-internship program tailored for rising high school seniors in Orange County. Over the span of six weeks, 11 exceptional students from 9 different Orange County high schools were given the opportunity to delve deep into the world of artificial intelligence (AI) and digital transformation.

Along with developing AI skills, they contributed to a diverse set of innovative projects that not only showcased the diverse skill sets of the students but demonstrated their commitment to addressing critical issues within Orange County. Projects included providing valuable tools for understanding and managing flood severity, wildfire hazards, traffic accidents, and COVID-19 data.

This AI-centered internship was one of many hosted by OC employers in 2023, part of a larger initiative designed to move the county toward an aggressive goal to provide work-based learning opportunities to 20,000 students in OC by 2030. This will help students build the skills and connections they need to secure high-paying innovation jobs and build a strong tech talent pipeline for OC companies. 

The innovative internship at OCPW emphasized the application of geospatial AI and machine learning, equipping the next generation with the pivotal knowledge needed to shape smart cities. Through immersive, hands-on experiences, the interns actively participated in data collection, management, analytics at the county level. Students also gained insights into how AI is revolutionizing fields like surveying, spatial mapping, and the creation of digital twins. 

The comprehensive, hands-on training included asynchronous online modules with in-class sessions and fieldwork. Spending a large part of the experience on-site at OCPW’s Glassel campus and County Administration South building students mastered data capture techniques using cutting-edge tools like the Total Station, LiDAR, and other positioning system devices. Two dedicated sessions developed their proficiency in drone reality capture, flight design, and execution. All these skills were then tested in the real world, as they undertook drone field research at the scenic Mile Square Regional Park. The data they collected not only supplemented their classroom learning but also mirrored OCPW’s extensive Geographical Information Systems (GIS) open data portal, emphasizing the real-world impact of their efforts. 

Along with in-class and field training, students kickstarted their virtual learning with an introduction to ArcGIS Pro, a GIS mapping software used for spatial data analysis, with the purpose of simplifying data engineering and incorporating it into solving everyday problems. They then delved into the realm of Python, a potent programming language that complements ArcGIS Pro, offering automation capabilities. Students earned online certifications for several of these programs.

Students also learned a variety of their additional tools on web mapping and survey development, distribution and analysis. Students were also introduced to advanced GIS techniques, such as space-time analysis, which equipped them with innovative analytical capabilities. With the knowledge and skills they’ve acquired, these interns aren’t just ready for the future—they’re poised to redefine it. They stand at the cusp of shaping smart cities and propelling their careers to unprecedented heights.

As the final projects for the micro internship, students worked in three different groups according to their work interests. Students were given the responsibility to pick what OCPW data set they wanted to work with in order to develop project rationale and a project workflow framework. Final projects created by the students included:

Prior to the AI micro internship, CLAOC and OCPW also collaborated on promoting digital transformation by bringing together prominent OC business leaders and community stakeholders on April 27, 2023 for a panel regarding digital twins. The primary agenda of this gathering was to enlighten the broader OC community about the transformative potential of digital twins, their diverse applications, and OCPW’s ongoing initiatives to incorporate digital transformation throughout the county.  The event spotlighted an esteemed panel featuring: Dr. Kostas Alexandridis (GIS Analyst, Orange County Public Works); Katerina Milovanoska (Director, Gafcon Digital); Keith Strier (Vice President of Worldwide AI Initiatives, NVIDIA); and their moderator, Jasmine Pachnanda (COO, CLAOC). With a wealth of knowledge and experience among them, the panelists delved deep into contemporary AI trends and highlighted how digital twins are poised to redefine the future business landscape.

In addition to outreach in the business community, members of OCPW have also guest lectured on smart cities and career paths in AI for CLAOC’s Careers in AI program. This program, created in partnership with Intel and Coastline ROP, offers high school students a deep dive into the AI industry and different career paths.  Encompassing core AI concepts, real world applications, ethical considerations, regulations, and professional standards, the curriculum leverages Intel’s AI for Workforce Awareness and Foundations modules. This comprehensive learning experience is further enriched with guest speaker presentations, like OCPW’s team, enabling students to engage with industry and local communities on issues surrounding AI. 

CLAOC remains committed to building a thriving OC for all through our AI Talent Lab. Our vision extends beyond the present, as we aim to persistently provide expansive educational resources and champion AI’s potential for innovation. Guided by our commitment to nurturing young talent, we are planning a series of community events aimed at promoting AI awareness and expertise. Looking ahead, summer 2024 holds particular promise, as we prepare to welcome a new group of high school students in our OCPW micro internship program, further fostering their budding interests in AI. 

As CLAOC and OCPW continue their synergistic partnership, the horizon looks promising for AI innovation and education in Orange County. We are not merely fostering technological innovation, but also cultivating a community ethos centered on accessibility, education, and progress.