December 2021
Project Impacted Manufacturing Education in Sacramento Region
Message from Jeff Briggs, Regional Director, North Region

It is with mix of pride and bittersweet sentiment that I present you with the final newsletter under the auspices of the Regional Director of Advanced Manufacturing for the North Region California Community Colleges.

Not more than five years ago, the role of the Deputy Sector Navigator (i.e. Regional Director) was created as a "workforce system integrator to serve as a means of identifying and connecting needs and resources" (see I am proud to say that the initiatives and efforts that stemmed from some very humble beginnings resulted in a handful of major outcomes that few could have imagined. These endeavors made a significant impact on our manufacturing ecosystem and no doubt will continue to have an enormous impact on the North Region's manufacturing sector and educational institutions for many years to come. As I attempt to sum up and expound upon what these accomplishments are and what they mean to the region, I would like to give due credit to my predecessors who had the vision, experience, knowledge, connections and tenacity to make all of this happen, or who at the very least set the stage for eminent success.

Carol Pepper-Kittredge was the first person to recognize that the North Region was ripe for a manufacturing revolution. As the first DSN/RD she helped kickstart our Region's very own chapter of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers - a group that focused on personal professional development and was open to anyone whosoever wanted to stay abreast of all things manufacturing in the Sacramento Region. What started out as 10 members now boasts nearly 100 members and has been recognized by National SME headquarters as being one of the most active chapters in the nation. Prior to COVID the local SME chapter was hosting an average of 10 manufacturing tours/professional development workshops per year with an average of 20 to 30 attendees per tour. These tours and workshops helped connect the community with local manufacturers and link potential job seekers with knowledge about what skill sets were needed by local industry. It also helped educators connect with employers and learn what skills should be taught in their classrooms thus fostering curriculum development and alignment with current skills needs. A listing of every tour that the SME chapter hosted can be found here:

Steve Dicus later took over as DSN/RD and under Carol's leadership helped facilitate the launch of Sierra College's GENE HAAS CENTER for Advanced Manufacturing by Design (See He further contributed to the Center's success by working closely with regional high school CTE educators and through organizations like Hacker Lab to ensure there are viable pathways for young talent to learn product development, prototyping, design and CNC machining. This helped ease the bottleneck for the ever-growing demand by local manufacturers for employees with these skill sets.

Furthermore, Steve's involvement with SME provided key connections and the support needed to launch the Sacramento Valley Manufacturer's Alliance - an organization run by the manufacturers themselves. Steve then served as the SVMA's first Education Committee Chair. Since 2018, SVMA has grown from a handful of companies to nearly 50 manufacturers strong. To get a better sense of what SVMA is currently doing for manufacturers you can read this recently article published in CNC West Magazine (see

Steve also kickstarted what is now referred to as the Train the Trainer & Shop Talk initiatives where high school CTE and community college instructors learn from and network with each other on an ongoing basis. This format allows for educators to teach each other everything from mechatronics, to CNC machining, to welding, to robotics. 

Mike Bell succeeded Steve and brought unique insight to the DSN/RD role. As an experienced mechanical engineer, CNC instructor, and founding member of both the above-mentioned SME & SVMA organizations, Mike played an active role in practically every major initiative brought forward by his predecessors. He then fortified these initiatives by creating the foundation for what is now a DOL approved (DAS pending) Apprenticeship program. He realized that to create a fully-fledged apprenticeship program, there had to be people who could serve as mentors and teachers to these young apprentices. With the average CNC machinist quickly reaching retirement, age he worked with the California Mobility Center, SVMA and the local business owners to put a program in place to standardize the assessment process for incumbent workers wanting to get credit for their many years of service on the job.

At the other extreme there was a lack of basic skills for incoming apprentices. Strategically partnering with SVMA & the Charles A Jones Career and Education Center, the Incumbent Workers Apprenticeship program and Pre-Apprenticeship program were thus created. Mike further implemented an interactive map to help educators connect with local manufacturers and vice versa (See

As the most recent DSN/RD I represented the North & Far North Region Community Colleges as Presenting Sponsor and emcee while serving alongside members of SME & SVMA to facilitate and host the 2021 Sacramento Manufacturing Expo. With nearly 400 attendees, 50 exhibitors and 8 breakout sessions, this event allowed local manufacturers to showcase their respective companies, network with other manufacturers in the region, foster local supply chain connections, raise awareness about existing job opportunities and learn about the latest technology/business trends as they relate to manufacturing. Despite challenges posed by a persisting pandemic, the Expo was a resounding success. (See for pictures of the Expo and a listing of all Exhibitors and Sponsors). I also worked with my DSN/RD counterparts across the state to develop a comprehensive list of resources for educators to help them migrate curriculum from in-person to online format. You can reference this list here:

I could easily go into granular detail about the myriad of strategic partnerships and regional cross sector initiatives that myself and my predecessors embarked upon. They were all significant and must not be overlooked for they were small pieces in a very large puzzle that in the end helped us achieve the above-mentioned outcomes that will benefit the manufacturing sector and educators for years and years to come.

It has been my privilege and honor to serve the North Region's Educators and Manufacturers. Please bookmark where we plan to keep our blog and educator/community resources available for your reference. I look forward to serving you again in some other capacity somewhere down the road. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you need anything. I can be reached at my email and cell below.

Sincerely, Jeff Briggs
916-316-8100 or
Project Update
Teachers Make Lichtenberg Fractal Wood Burning Devices
The final Edu2Mfg Train the Trainer session for 2021 was held on Saturday, December 11 at Sierra College. Louie Garcia, Building Industries Department, Sierra College, hosted the "make and take" training where participants made Lichtenberg fractal wood burning devices.

"I enjoy any opportunity to teach people to play with electricity safely," said Garcia. "The participants represent a variety of schools and populations so I'm excited to spark their imaginations, figuratively and literally. They were intrigued that we made the Lichtenberg wood burning device out of repurposed plumbing, electrical, construction and microwave oven parts." See some of Garcia's other projects on Facebook @SCBuildingIndustries.

Pete DeLosa, Engineering Design Teacher, Golden Sierra Junior Senior High School in Garden Valley, enjoyed the training. "I'm having a ball making this," said DeLosa. "It is something that I can take back to the classroom and show my students how to use it to experiment with burning wood designs."

Zack Dowell, Department Chair, Innovation Center Makerspace, Folsom Lake College, indicated that he'd always wanted to try using a Lichtenberg device. "Assembled from old microwave parts and assorted electrical castoffs -- Louie is a true believer in creative reuse -- each participant was able to build, test, and take their setup home," writes Dowell on the Folsom Lake College Innovation Center blog. "Suffice it to say that Lichtenberg wood burning can be a pretty dangerous endeavor, and is not to be trifled with, but Louie did a great job explaining the safe construction and operation of the system.." Read Zack Dowell's review of the training and the next steps he took to experiment with the process in LASERS AND LICHTENBERG

The training was arranged by California Community Colleges (CCC) Advanced Manufacturing North Region with Sacramento Valley Manufacturing Alliance (SVMA).
Sac City College Hosts Instructor Training
Thank you to Richard Gentry, Mechanical-Electrical Technology (MET) department chair and Brad Prudhel, assistant professor, MET, both with Sacramento City College, for hosting a CTE Teacher Training on Saturday, November 13. 

According to Gentry, students in the MET program have excellent career prospects. "Students have good paying jobs waiting for them when they finish the MET program," said Gentry. "Within a few years, they can easily be earning a six figure income."

Attendees toured the MET program's extensive training facilities, explained Steve Dicus, Advanced Manufacturing North Region. "Sacramento City College provides instruction in design, installation, operation, repair and maintenance of a wide range of mechanical and electrical equipment from small residential to large commercial and industrial facilities," said Dicus. 

"The entire spectrum of mechanical and electrical systems is covered including energy management, mechanical system commissioning, indoor air quality, building automation systems, refrigerant recovery and management, electrical controls, pneumatic controls, electronic controls, instrumentation and heat pumps," said Dicus. 

The training was arranged by California Community Colleges (CCC) Advanced Manufacturing North Region with Sacramento Valley Manufacturing Alliance (SVMA).
Autodesk® Invites Students to Discord Server
Di Jin, Autodesk®, announced that students using Fusion 360 can join the Discord server. "I'm not sure if instructors are familiar with Discord but students tend to love it," said Jin. "Here Autodesk® shares any news and updates about Fusion 360®. We also announce new competitions and host workshops."

Jin indicated that in just a couple of months, Autodesk® had more than 400 students participating. "One benefit is that students can have direct access to the Autodesk® team on the server to ask questions and share their feedback," said Jin. "It has proven to be a great resource. I hope teachers will encourage their students to join."

Sierra College Mechatronics Program Expands
To meet employers' ever-growing need for skilled robotics and automation technicians, Sierra College has expanded the Mechatronics program and has openings now for students to register for spring semester that begins on January 24. 

It is all about jobs, according to Tony Osladil, department chair, Mechatronics, Sierra College. "Students choose Mechatronics because it is a hands-on program that quickly teaches them the skills they need to get well-paid jobs with benefits and upward career potential," said Osladil. "Employers are competing to hire our students. The program employment rate is so high because we listen to our industry partners and teach the skills graduates need to be successful hires."

The Mechatronics program recently relocated to a newly expanded facility on the Rocklin campus of Sierra College. "Our Rocklin classroom space grew 50% and the Mechatronics lab doubled in size," said Osladil. "All of the Mechatronics courses are taught in-person on campus. Our students tend to be hands-on learners who want in-person, on-ground labs, not online classrooms."

In class, Mechatronics faculty usually review the lesson during the first hour and then students spend two to three hours in the lab working on projects to learn the concepts, explained Osladil. "Adult learners appreciate learning by doing. They tend to be men and women who already like working with their hands and their brains, and enjoy 'do-it-yourself' projects such as remodeling, robotics, crafting, tinkering or maintaining vehicles," said Osladil. "The program is ideal for people who have tried other jobs and are looking for meaningful, interesting work that will pay a living wage and offer a rewarding career path."

With a cadre of over 300 working graduates as well as a robust advisory committee made up of employers that routinely hire from the program, the faculty keep current on the latest technology, changing trends and required skills. "Our focus is on preparing students to find satisfying work after just 18 months to two years of study," said Osladil. "Our students are directly connected to employment and a lifelong network."

Learn more about Sierra College Mechatronics and apply now to attend Sierra College
Manufacturing Apprenticeship Dates for the New Year
Sacramento Valley Manufacturers Alliance (SVMA), California Mobility Center and the Charles A. Jones Career & Education Center offer a Manufacturing Pre-Apprenticeship Program to help people get started in the industry.

Every Wednesday, the Charles A. Jones Career & Education Center offers an orientation for adult education programs including the Manufacturing Pre-apprenticeship Program.

In-person program orientations are held each Wednesday at 9:15 AM at 5451 Lemon Hill Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95824. No appointment is needed to attend a Wednesday Orientation. 

The Charles A. Jones Career & Education Center (CAJ) will offer the Introduction to Manufacturing Pre-Apprenticeship training (90-hours of instruction over 5-weeks) on the following dates:

  • 1/4/22 - 2/8/22
  • 2/9/22 - 3/17/22 
  • 3/28/22 - 5/06/22 
  • 5/09/22 - 6/13/22

Learn more more about the Manufacturing Pre-Apprenticeship.
CNC West Features SVMA
The Sacramento Valley Manufacturers Alliance (SVMA) was featured in the Oct./Nov. issue of CNC West. In addition to highlighting Sacramento region manufacturing companies, the article shared the SVMA mission, described the manufacturing pre-apprenticeship program and discussed the successful October Manufacturing Expo. Read the SVMA article by Sean Burr in CNC-West (pg. 32-34).
CMTC Offers Manufacturing Resources
Whether you are looking for California manufacturers or interested in taking a webinar to keep up your skills, CMTC is an extensive resource. Learn more at the CMTC website.
Join SVMA on Social Media
The Sacramento Valley Manufacturers Alliance (SVMA) is building its social media community. Get connected by following and interacting online.
Jeff Briggs . Regional Director . Advanced Manufacturing North Region 
916.316.8100 . . 
Hosted at Sierra College . 5100 Sierra College Blvd., Rocklin CA 95677
Funding provided in part through Sierra College Grant #19-452-001, administered by the California Community College Chancellor’s Office.