Denise Bushnell, Business and Information Technology faculty member, Sierra College, is facilitating the multi-week 20 hour CCC Maker Makermatic Team Internship program so students can develop solutions to a real life business challenge. Based in Hacker Lab powered by Sierra College, one of Sierra Makerspaces partners, student interns are working in teams, under the guidance of business leader, Kevin Cobb, principal, AP Architects. The goal is to prepare interns with in-demand innovation skills and experiences that accelerate their career prospects.
In addition, Sierra College Makerspaces student team members are serving as assistant coaches, explained Bushnell. “As assistant coaches, they develop leadership skills as they guide their teams of interns,” said Bushnell.
The California Community College Makerspace initiative funded by the California Community College Chancellor’s Office under the Doing What MATTERS for Jobs and the Economy framework is compensating the interns.
The intent of the Makermatic Team Internship is to provide students with exposure to opportunities, connections to business mentors and meaningful experiences
The participating interns are pursuing a wide variety of majors on campus from art to engineering, explained Bushnell. “What makes this internship experience so exciting is the incredible diversity of the students on the teams,” said Bushnell. “They look at the business challenge from different perspectives as they reflect on their own college, ethnic, cultural and social economic experiences. The internship process is pushing them to stretch their thinking and practice building on others’ perspectives to find innovative solutions.”
Students attend twice per week sessions where they practice soft skills such as communication and team building as well as learn methods of problem identification, ideation and solution finding used by entrepreneurs and the corporate leaders alike, according to Paul DeVoe, strategic consultant on the CCC Maker leadership team. “Students will use these skills, regardless of their career aspirations,” said DeVoe. “The intent of the Makermatic Team Internship is to provide students with exposure to opportunities, connections to business mentors and meaningful experiences that will be useful whether they work as an employee or start their own businesses.”
Cobb indicated that he is excited to be involved in this makerspace-based team internship. He describes himself as a maker who enjoys leading a company that works with colleges as an architect and planner as well as creating hands-on projects. “The students are engaging in a real project where some of their solutions may be applied to final plans,” said Cobb. “The interns’ energy is off the charts. They are relishing giving their opinions and collaborating with other students.”
The way that the CCC Maker makermatic internship is designed, time is allotted so that the business leader can provide career advice to the students. On February 28, students asked Cobb to share his favorite interview question. “I like to find out the person’s long term goal,” said Cobb. “I’m not looking for pat answers; I want to have a real conversation about the person’s interests outside of work. I want to know if they have an eagerness to learn, and if they enjoy making and repairing things.”
Sierra College Makerspaces include campus labs and community partners – Hacker Lab, Truckee Roundhouse and Curious Forge, explained Carol Pepper-Kittredge, Associate Dean, Workforce Innovation, Sierra College. “Makerspaces are inclusive communities where students, faculty and staff can use tools to collaborate and innovate with other makers to build projects, develop curriculum and start companies,” said Pepper-Kittredge. “Basing the Makermatic team internship in the makerspace is intentional because the maker community inspires an entrepreneurial and innovation mindset. Employers can use the makerspace as a solution center where tools, students and the creative community can find innovative answers to the challenges they face.”
CCC Maker with The National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) is hosting make/SHIFT Makerspace Ecosystem Summit April 24-26 in Irvine CA where program like Makermatic will be highlighted.