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College Corner

Sierra College receives $350K grant for campus-makerspace collaboration

Grant will fund internships, facility updates at all three campuses
By: Mackenzie Myers, Reporter
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Competing with 24 other community colleges statewide, Sierra College recently received a $350,000 grant to support stronger connections between campuses and local makerspaces. If the program meets its goals, the California Community College Chancellor’s Office grant can be renewed for a second year, according to a press release from Sierra College.

In Rocklin, the makerspace associated with Sierra College is the Hacker Lab, located at 4115 Granite Dr. Curious Forge and Truckee Roundhouse have been selected as makerspaces to pair with the college’s Grass Valley and Truckee campuses, respectively.

According to Dominic Gutierrez, who will direct the makerspaces, the grant hasn’t been divided up between campuses yet. Campuses will have a better idea of their share after a budget meeting in two weeks, he said.

“There may be greater activity at the Rocklin campus simply because the majority of the students are there,” statewide project director Carol Pepper-Kittredge added.

While exact expenditures are to be determined, Pepper-Kittredge outlined four main goals for the grant: helping faculty integrate project-based learning into curricula, strengthening academic, nonprofit and business partnerships, making the learning space more accessible and providing internship opportunities.

Pepper-Kittredge said over the course of two years, at least 100 students will be placed in internships with local and regional employers after going through a training program at Hacker Lab. Gutierrez said the program will help students build technical and leadership skills they can take with them into the workforce.

“There is a trend starting up (of) employers visiting makerspaces to seek out future employees with technical education and skills well-suited for their business,” Pepper-Kittredge said. She highlighted the potential for these spaces to facilitate positive relationships between faculty, students, local businesses and hobbyists.