Sierra College Leads the Way at the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship make/SHIFT Summit

April 29, 2019

Written by: Sierra College

Sierra College Superintendent/President Willy Duncan provided the closing keynote address at the recent make/SHIFT Summit in Irvine, California. The National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) hosted the event to connect educational makerspaces, entrepreneurship programs and partners in workforce development innovation. Dale Dougherty, Founder/CEO of Maker Media, Stephanie Santoso, Director of Maker Initiatives, US 2020, and Van Ton-Quinlivan, former Executive Vice Chancellor of Workforce & Economic Development, California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office also spoke at the event.

NACCE is the largest ecosystem of entrepreneurial educators and leaders in North America. “Colleges across the country are gaining traction by using their makerspaces as a way to connect with their communities and stimulate entrepreneurship,” noted Dr. Rebecca Corbin, NACCE President/CEO. “Make/SHIFT is an opportunity for practitioners and policy makers seeking innovative and successful models to foster entrepreneurial thinking.”

Sierra College became the first community college in the nation to establish a public/private partnership to open Hacker Lab Powered by Sierra College for students and the community in 2015. Four years later, the Rocklin makerspace has doubled their square footage, expanded the equipment and facilities available for use, and offers over 400 workshops each year. In 2018, the makerspace helped launch approximately 50 micro businesses.  

The California Community College Chancellor’s Office, under the Doing What MATTERS for Jobs and the Economy framework, provided $17 million for the CCC Maker Initiative in 2016 to expand educational makerspaces throughout the state. The initiative was built upon the research and findings from the California Council on Science and Technology. Sierra College was selected to serve as the administrator and fiscal agent of the statewide effort.

That same year (2016), Sierra was the only community college to participate in the first annual International Symposium on Academic Makerspaces (ISAM) held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). ISAM is organized via the Higher Education Makerspaces Initiative (HEMI) whose members are MIT, Stanford University, Yale, Carnegie Mellon University, UC Berkeley, Case Western Reserve University, Georgia Tech, and the Olin College of Engineering. Sierra has been a regular participant at ISAM and a contributor to the corresponding publication, the International Journal of Makerspaces & Making.

Makerspaces, also sometimes known as fab labs, are places in a community where people get together to learn and invent using technology such as 3-D printers, computer-aided design (CAD) software and manufacturing equipment that might otherwise be unaffordable for an individual to purchase. The collaborative environment inspires participants to learn by doing, teaching in-demand skills for jobs in science, technology, engineering and math fields. Even more critical are skills such as effective communication, adaptability, 360-degree thinking, problem-solving and intellectual curiosity, which have been identified as attributes that will be needed for the 4th Industrial Revolution, or the rapid advancement of digitization, artificial intelligence, the internet of things, and biotechnology.

Visit Hacker Lab Powered by Sierra College and bring your imagination to life!