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CCC Maker, part of Doing What MATTERS for Jobs and the EconomyTwenty-four California community colleges were awarded a total of $6 million to establish “makerspaces” — do-it-yourself centers where students have access to technology that allows them to create, invent, learn and share ideas.

The grants are funded through CCC Maker, part of the Doing What MATTERS for Jobs and the Economy effort sponsored by the California Community Colleges (CCC) Chancellor’s Office. After a rigorous application process that began in January, each of the selected colleges was awarded from $100,000 to $350,000 per year for up to two years.

“These 24 colleges have demonstrated their commitment to establishing makerspaces, placing students in internships, developing curriculum that prepares students with 21st century skills and participating in a statewide network of college makerspaces that are tailored to meet the needs of regional economies,” said Van Ton-Quinlivan, CCC Vice Chancellor of Workforce & Economic Development.

Makerspaces — also known as fablabs — 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 CCC Maker initiative is aimed at strengthening the workforce by inspiring students to learn by doing, teaching in-demand skills for jobs in science, technology, engineering and math fields, partnering with employers to provide internships, and encouraging collaboration across disciplines and colleges.

Colleges that received the grant money are:

Allan Hancock College Golden West College
American River College Hartnell College
Butte College Laney College
Cabrillo College Moorpark College
Chaffey College Moreno Valley College
City College of San Francisco Mt. San Antonio College
College of Alameda Mt. San Jacinto College
College of San Mateo Orange Coast College
College of the Canyons Sacramento City College
Folsom Lake College San Bernardino Valley College
Foothill College Sierra College
Glendale Community College Woodland Community College

The process to qualify for funding included examining the range of models for building a makerspace; mapping the ecosystem of assets, stakeholders and collaborators; performing a self-study; creating a logic model; and connecting with students, according to Carol Pepper-Kittredge, statewide project manager for CCC Maker, which is based at Sierra College.

“Math and anthropology instructors talked about how they paired with career technical education instructors to develop curriculum that integrated student projects created in the maker environment,” Pepper-Kittredge said. “Innovation and learning will come from a cross-disciplinary approach. That’s why there are so many examples of this now in the workplace.”

Dale Dougherty, chairman and CEO of Maker Media and chair of the CCC Maker Advisory Committee, compared college makerspaces to libraries that are a resource to the entire campus.

“Makerspaces are about learning and the intersections of all disciplines, and the kinds of experiences that we can give students,” Dougherty said. “In a makerspace, students learn not to live within comfortable boundaries but to take creative risk and try things. If given the opportunity, a little support, and shared context like a makerspace, we could get a lot of amazing work from people. And they, in turn, would see themselves as amazing, which I think is the real goal here.”

The makerspace grants coincide with a push by the CCC to promote its more than 200 career education programs as affordable training for good-paying jobs. With 114 campuses across the state serving 2.1 million students per year, the CCC is the largest provider of workforce training in the U.S. Its career education programs are developed in partnership with local industries and taught by instructors with direct work experience.

More information about Doing What MATTERS for Jobs and the Economy can be found at Information about CCC Maker can be found at

Information for this story was provided by
the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office