March 15, 2018

Paul Feist

Phone: 916.327.5353


SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Thousands of community college students are discovering “making” as a way to prepare for careers in emerging industries as a result of 24 California community colleges building makerspace communities that facilitate hands-on experiences in making, innovation and entrepreneurship.

The CCC Maker initiative exposes students to career options while allowing them to develop indemand skills they can demonstrate to prospective employers. The Workforce and Economic Development Division of the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office provided $17 million to fund the initiative under the Doing What MATTERS for Jobs and the Economy framework. Sierra College is the initiative’s fiscal agent and administrator.

“These makerspaces allow our students to unleash creativity while fostering the type of innovation that is critical for jobs of the future,” said California Community Colleges Executive Vice Chancellor of Workforce & Digital Futures Van Ton-Quinlivan. “Hundreds of 20-hour internships and work-based experiences coordinated by the educational makerspaces will result from this initiative.”

“During the initiative implementation phase from July to December 2017, colleges reported that 9,158 students participated in activities in California Community Colleges Maker-funded makerspaces,” said California Community Colleges Maker Project Manager Carol Pepper-Kittredge. Community colleges also reported 235 employers have been recruited to participate, 217 students went through pre-placement training and 81 students earned digital badges documenting their skills.

“Already, student leaders are emerging, planning the spaces, promoting events, operating equipment and training other students,” Pepper-Kittredge said. “For instance, at City College of San Francisco, architectural graphic students redesigned the SmartHUB, and computer science students are creating a badge system for Maker Sphere equipment. At Glendale Community College, 35 student volunteers helped run Glendale Tech Week and a Latinas in STEM workshop.”

More than 300 faculty members are collaborating to embed “making” experiences into community college curricula and participated in 144 professional development activities. Efforts to create and grow their makerspaces are assisted by webinars, instructional online videos and blogs on the California Community Colleges Maker website, which allow the makerspace community to share best practices.

So far, 292 classes have accessed the makerspaces. Folsom Lake College offered “Making Social Change” in fall 2017, and Sierra College worked with Adobe to develop, which allowed students to use creativity and entrepreneurship to understand “minimal viability” of new products or services. Other colleges have submitted new maker curriculum for approval. Orange Coast College developed an action sports curriculum to teach design, engineering and fabrication of skateboards, surfboards, stand-up paddleboards and other performance objects suited to the local creative economy.

The California Community Colleges is the largest system of higher education in the nation, composed of 72 districts and 114 colleges serving 2.1 million students per year. California community colleges provide career education and workforce training; guaranteed transfer to four-year universities; degree and certificate pathways; and basic skills education in English and math. As the state’s engine for social and economic mobility, the California Community Colleges supports the Vision for Success, a strategic plan designed to improve student success outcomes, increase transfer rates and eliminate achievement gaps. For more information, please visit the California Community Colleges website or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.