The California Community College Chancellor’s Office recently awarded Foothill College $250,000 to create an inclusive makerspace community, provide internships and develop curriculum to prepare students with innovation and entrepreneurial skills to thrive in the regional 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 that students, faculty and staff can interact with others with shared interests, learn to use tools, collaborate on class projects and develop their knowledge through exploration and hands-on experiences, according to Carol Pepper-Kittredge, CCC Maker statewide project manager.

“Makerspace community members collaborate and teach other, enabling students, faculty and business owners to interact in ways not possible in the classroom, enriching students’ education,” Pepper-Kittredge said. “Faculty members are discovering how making, entrepreneurship and projects for social good can be incorporated into their teaching.”

Pepper-Kittredge said students benefit from freely exploring their interests while learning to use laser cutters, art supplies, electronics labs, sewing machines, milling machines and a host of other creative tools.

To develop a makerspace proposal, Foothill College identified ecosystem partners, underwent a design-thinking process to plan a makerspace, conducted activities to gauge student interest and engaged faculty in the CCC Maker initiative.

“We are excited to provide this incredible opportunity for our students and community members,” said Foothill College President Thuy Thi Nguyen.

The Krause Center for Innovation will host the makerspace at Foothill. KCI designs and implements professional development education and training with an emphasis on technology.

The vision of the statewide initiative is to drive innovation in education and prepare California Community College students for success in Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Math careers that demand 21st-century skills, Pepper-Kittredge said.

“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,” she said.

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