makerspace ccbc

Urban makerspace partnership links industry with education

Open Works launches higher education venture with nearby community college

A higher education partnership in Baltimore will help connect students with a makerspace to build their educational and manufacturing opportunities and expand their employment prospects.

Open Works, Baltimore’s new $11.5 center for traditional and advanced fabrication, is partnering with the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) as part of a joint effort to give area residents access to the resources and connections necessary to further their educational, expressive, professional, and business goals.

Open Works, the sixth largest makerspace in the nation, was recently opened to expand access to advanced tools and technologies through low-cost memberships, rental workspaces, educational classes, and workforce training opportunities in partnership with other regional organizations.

CCBC is currently teaching two non-credit safety orientation courses at Open Works. In the spring semester, CCBC will offer credit courses on-site at Open Works, starting with one of its 100-level Design, Fabrication and Advanced Manufacturing degree program courses. It will expand next fall to include additional 100-level classes.

Launched in 2015, CCBC’s Design, Fabrication and Advanced Manufacturing program prepares students for employment or advancement in the fields of fabrication, manufacturing, industrial technology and design, with an emphasis on emerging technologies and strategies. Upon completion of the program, students will have the experience of a program that combines traditional fabrication tools with new design and fabrication processes, including laser cutting, 3D printing and 3D scanning.

“CCBC’s latest industry partnership with this exciting Baltimore City venture is entirely consistent with our reliance on industry for collaborations that expand incubation and practical learning opportunities for the students in our new Design, Fabrication and Advanced Manufacturing degree program,” said Doug Kendzierski, chair of Applied Technology in CCBC’s School of Technology, Art and Design.

“CCBC believes we can work hand-in-glove with Open Works to dramatically affect both economic/workforce development, and economic empowerment through this innovative arrangement.”

As part of the joint-education venture, CCBC students will pay a discounted pro membership fee for the duration of the class. A membership discount is also being made more widely available to CCBC administrators, faculty and staff.

“This partnership builds on the innovative momentum of community colleges nationwide embracing the maker movement, makerspaces, and fab labs. To our knowledge, this is the first time a community college has partnered with an independent nonprofit makerspace to extend curricular offerings to a broader audience,” said Will Holman, General Manager, Open Works. “Together, we are making critical progress on creating jobs and pathways to jobs for residents of the Baltimore metropolitan region.”

Material from a press release was used in this report.

Laura Ascione

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