It's arts and crafts....no, it's light manufacturing...no, it's a kids place...no, more like make it/take it...what is this place? Are there still businesses in the incubator? What about the students?
The BB2C Epicenter is growing and evolving, and defining what we are is difficult at best. So let's try....first of all, the Epicenter is a program that falls under the umbrella of Building Bridges to Careers. (You might be familiar with our other programs, like Job Shadowing and the Career Mentor Program). We chose the name "Epicenter" because we do expect to create "waves of impact" out into the community and surrounding region. Within the Epicenter location, there are three main things going on: incubation, makerspace, and career development.
Two of the small businesses incubating in the Armory (the first Epicenter location) moved with us to the new location. This leaves room, in the form of office space, for 4 more people, or small groups of people, that would like the opportunity to try out their ideas while having direct access to shared resources, mentoring and coaching. (Pamela Lankford, the Epicenter Director, is a wealth of knowledge in this realm...)
The makerspace will have equipment available for people to use for a membership fee (kind of like a gym...). It will also provide waves of classes, teaching everything from light manufacturing to crafts. Classes are starting this month, and the makerspace equipment is on its way! The first wave of equipment includes 3D printers, vinyl cutters, and a laser cutter. The second wave of equipment will include woodworking tools, small and large. Then, we will work to provide equipment that the members would like to use. After all....we are not here for us, we are here for you. (So, tell Jenny Bruce your thoughts on this...she is the Makerspace Coordinator...and here is a survey you can complete to give us your thoughts)
This brings us to career development, which is what the Building Bridges to Careers umbrella is all about....bridging the gap between education and employment for students. If we aren't involving students in the program, then we shouldn't be doing it. Connecting students to community networks that can provide them personal experiences in career fields is our mission. The reason we want students to have multiple personal experiences is to equip them with the information they need to: 1) choose a career, and 2) choose a path that will successfully get them to that career. There are sooooooo many variables involved in 1 and 2 in this day and age, so we must continually make connections, share information, and provide resources. Not only do we need to help students with this, we have found that young adults and older adults that want to make a change in their life need help with this too. (Tonya Davis, BB2C Coordinator can get you started...)
The Epicenter is where we can do all of this....incubation, makerspace, career development. Whoever walks through the door can have access to all three and that is what makes us different (much more difficult to coordinate...but we are used to that). By utilizing volunteers, instructors, teachers, mentors, community members, businesses, (and anyone else we can talk into working with us...) we can make an impact. Check us out, share with your friends, keep in touch as we continue to develop, evolve, and make waves.