Sierra College Hacker Lab Partnership Adapts to Online Environment
Capitalizing on the New Virtual Environment, Hacker Lab Consolidates in Midtown Sacramento
The Rocklin Hacker Lab powered by Sierra College will be closing its doors at the end of June as Hacker Lab centralizes operations to gain efficiencies and focus on increasing their virtual services. The Hacker Lab powered by Sierra College opened in 2015 and was one of the first collaborations between a makerspace and an educational institution in the nation, serving as a model for the creation of makerspaces on college campuses throughout the state. The Rocklin location provided students, faculty, and community members an opportunity to engage fellow creators/makers, access equipment, and gain hands-on instruction. Similar to other makerspaces, the Rocklin location offered open access 24/7 for their members, a practice which is difficult to sustain in a time of social distancing and health department directives.
While the decision to close the Rocklin location was a difficult one, Hacker Lab co-founder Eric Ullrich noted this is what makers do. “We adapt,” Ullrich stated. “Consolidating will allow us to focus more of our resources on providing digital skills content and other training that businesses and community members need right now,” Ullrich added. “Small businesses in particular have been hit hard, and we want to do everything we can to support their recovery.”
Members of the Rocklin Hacker Lab will be served by the midtown Hacker Lab location after the Rocklin facility closes at the end of June. Members will continue to access the increasing availability of online courses and virtual collaboration.
“It’s a smart move, and we may able to consider another makerspace in the future,” said Sierra College Superintendent/President Willy Duncan. “Even though we won’t share a physical location with Hacker Lab, we share the same values, and we fully support using resources wisely to gain efficiencies.”
Duncan is a strong supporter of makerspaces, which provide learning opportunities and skill-building for students outside of the traditional classroom. He spoke on the topic as a keynote presenter at last year’s National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship, and Sierra College is a frequent contributor at the International Symposium on Academic Makerspaces alongside universities such as MIT, Stanford, and Yale. “Makerspaces inspire creativity, innovation, project-based learning, and resilience, which are attributes employers value, particularly in high tech,” Duncan added.
About Hacker Lab
Established in 2012 in Sacramento, Hacker Lab aims to educate folks and spark innovation with community-driven resources. Offering co-working, maker space, courses, meet-ups and events, Hacker Lab believes that technology can change the world and the starting point is education. Learn more: www.hackerlab.org.
About Sierra College
Sierra College District is rising to the needs of our community. Sierra College serves 3200 square miles of Northern CA with campuses in Roseville, Rocklin, Grass Valley, and Truckee. With approximately 125 degree and certificate programs, Sierra College is ranked first in Northern California (Sacramento north) for transfers to four year universities, offers career/technical training, and classes for upgrading job skills. Sierra graduates can be found in businesses and industries throughout the region. More information at www.sierracollege.edu.