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Aug 24
OCC Receives Grant Funding to Build Makerspace Community

kuka robot in its packaging for occ makerspace communityOrange Coast College was one of only 24 colleges in the State to receive a California Community College Maker Implementation grant from the CCC's chancellor's office. The $340,000 grant — which is renewable for a second year — will enable OCC to build an inclusive makerspace community, provide internships, embed making into its curriculum, and prepare students with STEAM skills to succeed in today's economy. 

OCC Professor Steve Fuchs led a project development team at OCC to develop a makerspace proposal. The team worked for more than eight months to identify ecosystem partners, complete a design thinking process to plan out a campus makerspace, conduct student activities, assess student interest and engage faculty in the CCC Maker Initiative. 

"The makerspace will enhance the student experience and will be central to developing further connections with industry partners, securing hands-on, real world work experiences for students, and giving students the place and opportunity to imagine, create and build their ideas," said OCC President Dr. Dennis Harkins. 

California Community Colleges are building makerspaces so students, faculty and staff can interact with others who have shared interests, learn to use tools, make class projects and develop knowledge through exploration and hands-on experiences, explained 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," said Pepper-Kittredge. "Faculty members are discovering how making, entrepreneurship and projects for social good can be incorporated into their teaching. Students benefit from freely exploring their interests while learning to use laser cutters, art supplies, electronics labs, sewing machines, milling machines and many other creative tools." 

"Our students will be placed in internships, faculty will develop curriculum that prepares students with 21st century skills, our campus will create a makerspace community and we will benefit from learning from other colleges in the statewide network of college makerspaces," said President Harkins.  "As a result of the CCC Maker Grant, our college will develop an innovative education model and our students will be better prepared by to work in our regional economy." 

The vision of the statewide initiative is to drive innovation in education and prepare California Community College students for success in STEM/STEAM careers that demand 21st Century skills, explained Pepper-Kittredge. "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," said Pepper-Kittredge. 

To learn more about CCC Maker visit