MakerUSA launches to create pathways in maker careers and entrepreneurship

Coronado, CA, April 20, 2022 – ( – MakerUSA, a new organization formed within the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE), was announced today in conjunction with NACCE’s annual Make/SHIFT conference brought to life.

MakerUSA’s mission is to accelerate social mobility and community-driven innovation by expanding pathways into maker careers and entrepreneurship for underserved students. Maker Industries span areas from advanced manufacturing and computer science to crafts and biotechnology.

“Municipalities are investing in maker education to drive professional mobility and
entrepreneurship, but there is often limited human capital to fully support these efforts,” noted Colin Lacy, co-founder and CEO of MakerUSA.

Focused on communities most marginalized by unequal access and opportunity, MakerUSA will embed uniquely trained and well-supported program managers at Partner Innovation Sites. These locations may include, but are not limited to, leading community and technical colleges, as well as rural and minority-serving colleges and universities. Program managers will work on renewable contracts of 12 to 18 months with the goal of building long-term career paths.

“Maker Education drives equitable, community-driven innovation while fostering creativity, empowerment, and skill building,” shared MakerUSA Co-Founder and President Stephanie Santoso, Ph.D. With. MakerUSA will support community-defined goals at the intersection of Maker education and innovation. Program managers will learn and share through the MakerUSA Learning Network. MakerUSA plans to have its network grow into a new national workforce dedicated solely to pathways into the manufacturing industry and entrepreneurship focused.

Twenty institutions and organizations from 12 states recently submitted “Letters of Interest” to become MakerUSA Innovation Sites. Organizations include community and technical colleges, rural universities, historically black colleges and universities, community-based nonprofits, and makerspaces. The submission option remains open until May 30th. MakerUSA is targeting its first cohort of program managers to begin in late 2022.

“A MakerUSA partnership would bring significant capacity and expertise as we explore new ways to expand Maker education opportunities for our students,” said President Kelli Chaney of Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT), Knoxville.

Genentech and the Arconic Foundation provided grants for the launch of MakerUSA. Efforts are seeking additional funding to support implementation. Arconic Foundation President and Treasurer Ryan Kish said, “The Arconic Foundation is proud to be a founding sponsor of MakerUSA and to support the development of the community capacities that we believe are key to building student paths in maker careers and industries, including advanced manufacturing.”

“Genentech is pleased to support and support the launch of MakerUSA in return
underserved communities in building stronger maker ecosystems that make a difference
K-12, higher education and local industry together,” said Kristin Campbell Reed, Executive Director, Genentech Corporate Relations & The Genentech Foundation.

Organizations that have submitted expressions of interest to date include: Butte College; Cabrillo College; Coppin State University; forward cities; Inland Empire/Desert Regional Consortium; coats and makers; nation of makers; Norco College; community college in the North Iowa region; operational paths; Pan-African Heritage Institute; Patrick & Henry Community College; Pinhead Institute (Smithsonian Affiliate); Public Glass; Rockland Community College; Sacramento College; 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 be community-driven
Innovate by expanding pathways for underserved students into maker careers and entrepreneurship. MakerUSA was co-founded by two national leaders with more than 30 years of experience at the intersection of maker education, educational equity and innovation. Colin Lacy was formerly Executive Director of the Makers + Mentors Network, a national community of maker ecosystems collectively serving over 200,000 underrepresented youth. Stephanie Santoso, Ph.D., was the country’s first Senior Advisor for Making in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and helped found 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 facilitate student pathways into a Maker career and

MakerUSA is made possible by NACCE’s incubation partnership. NACCE represents a vibrant community of colleges and community colleges, including more than 2,500 faculty, staff and administrators serving four million students.

For more information and an introductory video, visit: and NACCE at

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