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Makerspace sets stage for CTE students

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By John Michael Guerrero

The Makerspace in the Salvatore G. Rotella Digital Library and Learning Resource Center is getting ready to open. This space will offer various tools and materials to students interested in creating and exploring Career and Technical Education (CTE).

“(Students) can take advantage of the 3D printers, computers, sewing machines, Cricut machines for embossing and various fabrics. Items are still being added to my knowledge,” said Chase Ballard, administrative assistant to the dean of CTE.

This center will hold a similar role to the Makerspace open at Moreno Valley College. Sabrina Sepulveta, CTE project specialist, said it will be a place for “community events and to express yourself.”

Funding will be provided through the Strong Workforce Grant given to the CTE Department.

“They are currently working on hiring for the positions of the staff who will oversee the space, help people properly handle items and will be trained to operate all the machinery,” Ballard said.

The job search to hire classified personnel has been tough according to Shari Yates, dean of CTE. She said they are the key piece missing to open the center as “They will help with the vision and mold of the Makerspace.”

The vision for Makerspace came from Kristine DiMemmo, vice president of planning and development, and Ajené Wilcoxson, business and entrepreneurship instructor.

“What we are hoping (this space fosters) is interdisciplinary goals where all the students connect with each of the different (CTE) fields,” Yates said. “In the end, (students) can come up with a product that they can build a business around.”

The dean hopes students and faculty will take advantage of this campus resource, especially those in CTE. This place will also help to bring younger people from the community to Riverside City College to explore what CTE has to offer and help them ease into higher education.

Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) and fine and performing arts faculty have expressed interest in forming a partnership with the Makerspace in the future.

The space is projected to open this upcoming fall semester after five years of planning.

“We are really excited to see this open to students and faculty to participate in and utilize resources available,” Sepulveta said.

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