The #Maha11 Venue That’s Guaranteed to Inspire
July 26, 2019
See why Metropolitan Community College’s Center for Advanced and Emerging Technology is a community resource like no other, and the perfect backdrop for Maha Discovery.
Story and photos by Jurge Cruz-Alvarez
There’s an immediate feeling of possibility that hits you when walking through the bright and open halls of the Center for Advanced and Emerging Technology located on the Fort Omaha Campus of Metropolitan Community College. With a massive indoor space greeting you to your left as you enter, a beautiful garden and view on its second floor, and a prototyping lab space decorated by the 3D printed creations of students, it’s difficult not to be hit with a spark of creativity.
Built in 2017, this impressive space for experimentation and technology houses 3D printers, laser cutters, programmable machinery, and many more resources that are not only available to MCC students, but to all local residents. (That’s right — anyone can visit and utilize the special equipment in the Prototype Design Lab for just a monthly small fee.)
MCC’s CAET building combines this technology with a curriculum informed by the needs of business professionals, such as cabinetry supplier Sympateco, with the goal of growing Omaha’s pool of tech and IT trade workers. It’s this shared goal to push Omaha forward — and incredible facility — that Maha Discovery will be right at home at MCC’s CAET building.
“The feeling that I’d most like to see developed is the feeling to understand that really anything is possible…”
Ryan Bumstead is a full-time student at MCC and CAET Service Specialist who has previously worked at Microsoft and Uber. While his roles have changed over the past few years at CAET, Ryan has been working at MCC’s CAET building since the facility opened its doors.
“I probably had more growth at MCC than I have had in almost any other place in my career,” says Ryan.
While focusing on cybersecurity in his studies at MCC, Ryan serves as a knowledgeable resource on most operations at MCC’s CAET, and provides utility services when needed. He recognizes that while the technology they provide is exciting, for some it may be difficult to wrap their minds around how to actually use it. A 3D scanner sure sounds cool, but it may also sound intimidating.
“The feeling that I’d most like to see developed is the feeling to understand that really anything is possible,” says Ryan. “You have all sorts of machines, all sorts of ideas that you can develop here, and if you don’t give that level of understanding to the people that come in how do they even know where to begin. So I think that once we do Maha Discovery, I’d love to see a detailed tour of the facility to kind of build into how that feeling should be developed.”
“Part of it is getting businesses to even think about emerging technology.”
MCC’s CAET building was a key part of MCC’s Delivering the Promise campaign made to energize the Omaha community with access and opportunity regardless of what type of learner one may be.
“It’s meant for industry to come to campus, work alongside our faculty and our students through emerging technology,” says Victoria Novak, Director of Workforce and IT Innovation-Corporate Training at MCC.
The technology housed within MCC’s CAET is not just there because it’s impressive; they’re tools married to programs and skills that employers are looking for. MCC not only makes space within CAET available for businesses to rent out, but they also survey them to hear what hard skills students should be learning.
“Part of it is getting businesses to even think about emerging technology,” says Victoria. “We need to plant a seed of what it looks like for them to do this thing.”
When that connection is made, both students and business benefit. Some students who’ve worked with business partners at MCC’s CAET have found a role with those companies, or soon developed a separate direct career path thanks to the experiences they’ve had at CAET.
“Or you can be like me and you could spend $33 on a piece of walnut wood, still sitting in my office a year later,” jokes Victoria. “I want to make some coasters, I just haven’t yet done that.”
Whether or not she does ever get to making those coasters, the great thing is that she can when she wants to, thanks to CAET.
Cultivating inspiration is at the heart of MCC’s CAET, and also the core of Maha Discovery.
If you’ve got that imaginative curiosity, and want to hear from creative professionals across exciting industries that could help shape that idea, Maha Discovery is the place to be on August 15.
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