Stories @ TCAT

Coronado, CA – April 20th, 2022 – MakerUSA, a new organization incubated within the
National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE), launched today in
conjunction with NACCE’s annual make/SHIFT conference.
MakerUSA’s mission is to accelerate social mobility and community-driven innovation by
expanding pathways for underserved students into careers in making and entrepreneurship.
Maker industries include an array of fields, from advanced manufacturing and computer
science, to the skilled trades and biotechnology. “Communities are investing in maker education
to drive career mobility and entrepreneurship, however there is often limited human capital to
support these efforts to their full potential,” noted MakerUSA Co-Founder and CEO, Colin Lacy.
How It Works
Focusing on communities that have been most marginalized by unequal access and opportunity,
MakerUSA will embed uniquely-trained and well-supported Program Managers at partner
“Innovation Sites.” These sites can include leading community and technical colleges, as well as
rural and minority-serving colleges and universities, among others. Program Managers will
serve on 12-18 month, renewable contracts, with the goal to build long-term career pathways.
“Maker education drives equitable community-driven innovation, while fostering creativity,
empowerment and skill building,” shared MakerUSA Co-Founder and President, Stephanie
Santoso, Ph.D.. MakerUSA will support community-defined goals at the intersection of maker
education and innovation. Program Managers will learn and share with each other through the
MakerUSA Learning Network. At scale, MakerUSA plans for its network to become a new
national workforce exclusively focused on pathways into maker industries and entrepreneurship.
Twenty community organizations, from 12 states, recently submitted “Letters of Interest” to
become MakerUSA Innovation Sites. The organizations include community and technical
colleges, rural-serving universities, historically black colleges and universities, community-based
nonprofits and makerspaces. The submission opportunity remains open through May 30th.
MakerUSA aims for its first cohort of Program Managers to begin in late 2022.
“A MakerUSA partnership would bring essential capacity and expertise as we explore new ways
to expand maker education opportunities to our students,” said, President of Tennessee College
of Applied Technology (TCAT) Knoxville, Kelli Chaney.
Genentech and Arconic Foundation provided grant funding to launch MakerUSA. The effort is
actively seeking additional funding to support implementation. Arconic Foundation President
and Treasurer, Ryan Kish, shares “Arconic Foundation is proud to be a founding sponsor of
MakerUSA and support the development of the community capacity we believe is key to
building student pathways into maker careers and industries, including advanced
Currently, organizations that have submitted Letters of Interest include: Butte College; Cabrillo
College; Coppin State University; Forward Cities; Inland Empire/Desert Regional Consortium;
Mantles and Makers; Nation of Makers; Norco College; North Iowa Area Community College;
Operation Pathways; Pan African Cultural Heritage Institute; Patrick & Henry Community
College; Pinhead Institute (Smithsonian Affiliate); Public Glass; Rockland Community College;
Sacramento City College; Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) Knoxville;
University of Wyoming; Urban Manufacturing Alliance; and Victor Valley College.
About MakerUSA
MakerUSA’s mission is to accelerate social mobility and community-driven innovation by
expanding pathways for underserved students into maker careers and entrepreneurship.
The organization has been co-founded by two national leaders with more than 30 combined
years of experience at the intersection of maker education, educational equity and innovation.
Colin Lacy was formerly the Executive Director of Makers + Mentors Network, a national
community of maker ecosystems that collectively serve over 200,000 underrepresented youth.
Stephanie Santoso, Ph.D., served as the nation’s first Senior Advisor for Making within the
White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and helped launch President Obama’s
Nation of Makers initiative. MakerUSA Inc. is incorporated in rural Colorado, one of the country's
many rural regions with limited capacity to build student pathways into maker careers and
MakerUSA is made possible through incubation within NACCE. The association represents a
dynamic community of technical and community colleges, including more than 2,500 faculty,
staff, and administrators who serve four million students.
For more information and an introductory video please visit: and on NACCE at