Mission College will update its engineering laboratory with a $160,000 grant from the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, school officials announced.
The grant will provide, among other things, 20 top-of-the-line IBM multimedia computers, giving students access to the same equipment that professionals use, college officials said.
"This has meant everything to the engineering department," Mission President William Norlund said. "Without this we would not be able to have our engineering department computerized like it is. And everything is pretty much being done on computers."
Mission's engineering laboratory serves about 300 students studying a variety of engineering disciplines, including computer-aided drafting and design. The courses are transferable to the University of California and other four-year universities.
Ralph M. Parsons, who died in 1974, started the foundation to provide financial support for a broad range of civic and cultural causes in Southern California. Since 1989, the foundation has given a total of $500,000 to Mission to further engineering education for women and minorities.
"The Parsons Foundation has broad interests and higher education is one of them," said Christine Sisley, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles-based organization.
"Mission College came to us some years ago and made a good case for the work they were doing with disadvantaged students. We agreed to support that and they have just done a fantastic job," Sisley said.