Cabrillo College was one of 24 colleges to receive a CCC Maker Implementation Grant from the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office to build an inclusive makerspace community, provide internships, embed making into curriculum and prepare students with STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) skills to succeed in the innovation economy.
At its Board of Trustees meeting last night, Cabrillo College accepted a $350,000 grant that is renewable for a second year up to a total of $700,000, from the California Community College Chancellor’s Office. Having won the maximum award amount available to any single college through a competitive process, the grant will create an inclusive makerspace community, provide internships, and develop curriculum to prepare students with innovation and entrepreneurial skills to succeed in the innovation economy. Twenty-four colleges received funding to participate in the CCC Maker initiative and collaborate across the state, sharing college makerspace best practices and developing a model for creating college makerspace communities.
California Community Colleges are building makerspaces so students, faculty and staff can interact with others who have shared interests, learn to use classical and advanced digital fabrication tools, make class projects and develop their knowledge through exploration and hands on experiences, explained Carol Pepper-Kittredge, CCC Maker Statewide Project Manager.
For Cabrillo College, this will mean the addition of a new, standalone Makerspace totaling 2,817 square feet, a seven time expansion of its current, 407 square foot Art Department FabLab, founded and developed by FabLab Coordinator and art faculty member Payson McNett, a nationally recognized expert in digital fabrication education. Over the two-year span of the grant, Cabrillo will hire three new half-time staff and will invest an additional $368,000 in new equipment and materials.
Cabrillo’s new Makerspace is slated to open later this fall in a portion of the 1300 Building located just behind Cabrillo’s 3-D Art Building. It will be a new, high-tech playground where all Cabrillo students, especially those in STEAM fields, can collaborate, innovate and co-create.
With the support of existing and new curriculum, students will use the space to prepare for new internships and employment opportunities in regional advanced manufacturing and rapid prototyping, or launch entrepreneurial ventures of their own.
The new Makerspace will also be open to the entire Santa Cruz County community through memberships offered through Cabrillo’s Extension program. Workshops and mentor-led training will promote classical making skills such as woodworking and steel fabrication, as well as contemporary making techniques using 3-D scanners, 3-D printers, laser cutters/etchers, CNC machines including a new large router, Computer Aided Design (CAD), a digital knife, and more.
To develop its Makerspace proposal, Cabrillo College identified more than 200 ecosystem partners, went through an extensive design thinking process, conducted student activities and student and community surveys to assess student and community interest, and engaged faculty from several different disciplines.
In late April 2017, Dr. John Graulty, Cabrillo’s Dean of Visual, Applied and Performing Arts, hosted a daylong Makerspace Plan-A-Thon at Cabrillo’s Aptos Campus. More than 50 local maker ecosystem partners, including K-14 education partners, students, faculty, industry, government agencies, nonprofits, the City of Santa Cruz Economic Development team, Monterey Bay Economic Partnership, and 12 potential industry and nonprofit internship providers participated in the event, which featured small group work and focused brainstorming sessions.
“As the Makerspace becomes a reality, Cabrillo looks forward to deepening engagement with local partners and using grant funding to support collaboration between all stakeholders and STEAM faculty to develop industry-responsive curriculum that prepares students for maker-related advanced manufacturing and rapid prototyping internships and careers,” said Graulty.
“The Makerspace will enhance the student experience and will be central to developing connections with industry partners, securing real world work experiences, developing hands-on skills, and supplementing curriculum,” said Dr. Laurel Jones, President and Superintendent, Cabrillo College.
“It will prepare our students to compete in the global economy, and will give our lifelong learners the opportunity to learn new skills, network with others and possibly cultivate an entrepreneurial idea into a startup or launch a second career. We see this as not only a huge benefit for Cabrillo College, but for all of Santa Cruz County,” continued Jones.
The vision of the statewide initiative is to drive innovation in education and prepare California Community College students for success in STEM/STEAM careers that demand 21st Century skills, explained Pepper-Kittredge. “Through the CCC Maker initiative, colleges engage with businesses in new ways, students are inspired by learning by doing, career skills are incorporated into education, students develop interests in emerging technologies and community colleges contribute to a thriving statewide economy,” said Pepper-Kittredge.
Cabrillo’s current Fab Lab was launched in Fall 2015 with the help of a generous donation of more than $40,000 in equipment from Dave Britton and the MakersFactory, then located on the Cabrillo Aptos campus.