Sierra College CACT Tech-Explorer project inspires students to consider tech careers
ROCKLIN – Students at the Park Avenue Alternative Education Site asked their principal for more hands-on projects. On Thursday, April 3, they will learn to use mills, lathes, drills and other tools to make catapults. The school site located at 140 Park Ave. in Grass Valley.
According to school principal Mike Tambini, the students are hungry for applied learning projects like the Tech-Explorer catapult program developed by Sierra College CACT (http://sierracollegetraining.com/techexp_program.php). “As the new principal, I wanted to find out what the students were really interested in so I conducted several focus groups,” said Tambini. “The students said that they wanted hands-on programs so we’ve brought community partners on to the site to introduce technology, health and art.”
The Tech-Explorer project introduces skills that students might use in technical or manufacturing careers. “We don’t have a vocational education program on campus so the Sierra College CACT project could motivate students to consider careers in robotics, engineering, design, electronics, manufacturing and product development,” said Tambini.
Exposing K12 students to technical education is crucial according to Neal Albee, Dean Sierra College Nevada County Campus. “At youngest possible age, we need to expose them to technical educational and career opportunities,” said Albee. Gil Matthew, President and CEO of the Nevada County Economic Resource Council, agrees. “Tech-Explorer is an entry point for high school students to explore technology,” said Matthew. Theresa Wescott, human resources manager for Thomson - Grass Valley, Inc. in Nevada City said that there is a need for technically qualified employees. “There are excellent opportunities for young people who pursue technical education,” said Wescott.
This short-term, turn-key applied academic project meets State of California secondary education standards. Sierra College CACT provides trainers, shop tools, materials and safety gear. The Sierra College CACT secured a grant from the California Community College Chancellor’s Office, Economic Development and Workforce Preparation Division (www.cccco.edu) for this demonstration project. For more information, contact Sandra Scott, Sierra College Workforce Development and Continuing Education at (916) 781-6244 or go to http://sierracollegetraining.com/techexp_program.php.
Once the pilot is completed, the Tech-Explorer projects will be available to schools through California’s twelve Centers for Applied Competitive Technologies (CACT.org). The mission of the Center for Applied Competitive Technologies is to support companies with employee training, technology deployment and industry development. Since 1997, the Sierra College CACT has supported manufacturers and technology companies in Northern California from Sacramento to the Oregon border. For more information, go to www.sierracollegetraining.com or call 916-781-6244.