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Makerspace Startup Guide

The California Community College Makerspace Startup Guide Preparing Students for Jobs of the Future outlines the planning process to build a makerspace community.

If you want to download the summary, click here: Guide Summary


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Makerspace Startup Guide — Tips to Build Your Educational Makerspace

Technological advancements across sectors continue to create jobs that require very specific skill sets, but many of our educational institutions are not evolving fast enough to meet this need. The answer lies in integrating hands-on making, digital design and fabrication, and entrepreneurship skills into our current pedagogies and curricula. Growing a statewide network of makerspaces linked to community colleges can help develop a much-needed workforce for what’s being termed the digital or innovation economy.

In 2016, CCC Maker embarked on a six-month journey of guiding and shepherding 34 California community colleges through the Makerspace Startup Process. Colleges identified the needs of their respective communities, mapped out their extended support ecosystems, analyzed their findings, and piloted student and faculty engagement. At the end of this first phase, each college had a plan of action to build a makerspace community on their campus, as well as documentation to support funding applications.

In the spirit of the Maker Movement, we created this guide to walk you through the process. We believe that the Makerspace Startup Process and all we learned from guiding others through it should be open-source and free for all to use. Below is a synopsis of the building blocks of the process covered in the guide.

Institutional Self-Study
Research existing systems, resources, and data, gather knowledge, and analyze your findings. An honest self-assessment is essential to avoiding predetermined outcomes.

Ecosystem Mapping
Look within your community for potential partners, assets, and resources that can help sustain your makerspace. The key is to seek, identify, and map out who and what comprise your ecosystem.

Logic Modeling
What problem are you trying to solve and what pathway do you intend to use to solve it? Map out the most logical pathway with the resources and information gleaned from your institutional self-study and ecosystem map.

Community Outreach
Invite and engage the community to adopt, maximize, and promote the space. Without the support of a community, a makerspace is nothing but a collection of tools, a room of mere potential.

Internships
Two of the most crucial elements in preparing students to succeed in the 21st-century job market and workplace are partnerships with area businesses and a robust internship program. Together they help bridge the gap between education and employment.

Designing a Makerspace
Before you even buy any tools, step back and consider the community they’ll serve. Empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test, and empathize once more. Consider all aspects of the makerspace (inside, outside, online, culture).

The Role of Change-Makers
Change maker, facilitator, agent of change, catalyst: Whatever verbiage you use to identify the movers and shakers, those who are bold and charge ahead (often despite the odds), no makerspace would be possible without at least one, if not an entire team of them.

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Makerspace Impact –  Implementation Strategies & Stories of Transformation

How do we help prepare students for the 21st century economy and job market? The answer lies in integrating hands-on making and familiarity with digital design and fabrication into our current pedagogies and curricula. And at the core of this integration are academic makerspaces.

This Makerspace Impact report provides a summary of the CCC Maker initiative that created a network of 24 California Community College makerspaces, and includes students’ own stories of how they were impacted by the college makerspaces and descriptions of colleges’ unique makerspace implementation strategies.

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Makermatic Workbook for Coaches

Makermatic is a 20-hour team internship program developed by the CCC Maker initiative to connect students to real-world business problems. This workbook is a step by step guide for offering Makermatic including detailed descriptions for recruiting interns, working with businesses and delivering activities for each session.

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Five CCC Maker colleges piloted the Makermatic program in their college makerspaces in 2018-2019. This Makermatic Workbook for Coaches was created to guide the pilot project and is being shared to help other colleges offer work based learning in their makerspaces.

This workbook is a tool kit and resource for others wishing to offer a team internship experience in their makerspaces. It explains the purpose, roles, materials and activities in each session. The workbook shares methods for intern recruiting, provides sample materials and suggests check lists for the faculty members guiding the process.

In Makermatic, interns representing a wide variety of majors listen to a challenge proposed by a business leader. They go through a facilitated process of problem finding. Team of students work together to explore possible solutions. At the end of the internship, interns present their solutions to a panel of business representatives. Students gain key 21st century skills and work collaboratively in the way representatives from different departments might work together  to address a business issue. Businesses gain from the students’ unique perspectives and suggestions on how to address the challenge.

The concept was suggested by the CCC Maker Advisory Committee members who believed that the potential of the community college student was under-imagined. These leaders suggested that the business community would be willing to engage with college students, share real business problems as topics for learning and benefit from hearing students’ creative solutions.

The advantage of Makermatic is that it is less time consuming than the traditional internship model connecting each student with an employer. In the Makermatic team internship, 20-25 students work on a real business problem with one employer. Businesses that participated in the pilot indicated that they found value in the solutions proposed by the students.

The makerspace also serves as an ideal bridge between students and the business community. Makerspaces offer access to tools, technologies, social connections and instruction in a supportive environment. Students seeking inspiration, skills and opportunities to pursue a vocation that fits their interests can develop innovation-ready career skills in their college makerspace through the makermatic internship.

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Makermatic — A Scalable Approach to Team Internships

This publication offers a comprehensive program overview of Makermatic, a new approach to scalable team internships conducted in a makerspace. In addition it shares the findings from the initial Makermatic pilot programs hosted across five CCC Maker colleges.

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Makermatic is a structured, seven-session, paid, 20-hour team internship, hosted in any college makerspace, that connects students to real-world business problems. Rather than the traditional one-on-one internship model, interns in Makermatic (up to 25 per internship run) work in teams of four or five students, modeling how work is most often conducted in the business world. This system is not only more efficient and sustainable, but it offers a richer and more fulfilling experience for all involved.

The direct connection between college students and the business world has never been more tenuous. Internships have traditionally been a vital link, but colleges find it difficult to structure sustainable, scalable business internships to help prepare students for the job market. The time and effort it takes for colleges to build business community relationships, define internship roles and expectations, meet intra-college expectations, and then execute the convoluted rules of hiring, liability, and documentation are understandably daunting. The Makermatic program was born out of a desire to completely reimagine the way that college-based internships are structured.

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