Local manufacturing at Startup Monterey Bay Connect

Speakers from local businesses and non-profit organizations delivered a message that there are countless opportunities for students from California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) if they know where to look.

They delivered their message at the recent meeting of Startup Monterey Bay Connect,  a CSUMB College of Business program that hosts monthly meetings for entrepreneurs. The theme of Tuesday’s meeting (April 11) was Central Coast manufacturing. It was held at Monterey Bay at the University of California, Santa Cruz Monterey Bay Education, Science and Technology Center – mostly referred to as UCSC MBEST Center –  for economic development in Marina. 

Brad Barbeau, the CSUMB Institute for Innovation and Economic Development (iiED) director, said that his program exists to help students from any field of study become entrepreneurs and start businesses. 

“Businesses can grow out of science, the arts or anywhere in the university,” said Barbeau. 

He began the meeting by announcing the The Monterey Bay Drone, Automation and Robotics Technology Symposium and Drone Camp, which is a hybrid training program for students who are interested in becoming drone pilots. Drones are an exciting component of the manufacturing industry on the Central Coast and there’s an increasing demand for operators in multiple industries, from videography to environmental inspection.

According to Barbeau, manufacturing is significant to students because “it’s all about making stuff, it’s the base of our economy. We want to have that manufacturing capability here in our country to provide high paying jobs.”

Local manufacturing benefits both businesses and workers by creating opportunities. As Daniel Emerson, the CEO of Light and Motion, a Monterey Bay lighting equipment manufacturer and seller said, “ditch the middle man.” Many of the companies at Startup Connect are hiring for entry level positions with on the job training and a third of Emerson’s employees are CSUMB alumni.

Cody Cleverly, a workforce development leader at Joby Aviation, impressed the panel with his company’s most ambitious project; a drone-like electric vertical aircraft designed for urban transportation which can fly up to 150 miles. The aircraft is being tested at the Marina Municipal Airport, and while there are shortages in the aviation industry from technicians to pilots, Cleverly stated that Joby hires entry level apprentices at a competitive wage.
Students who are interested in networking and entrepreneurship opportunities are encouraged to utilize resources and programs at the iiED that, according to their website, “develop entrepreneurs and support innovative ideas that lead to new businesses for students and community members.”

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