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Fab Force is Coming Fall 2018

Jim Correll, director Fab Lab ICC at Independence Community College, Independence Kansas 

While I'm on vacation this week, I've ask my colleague and friend Melissa Ashford to summarize her perspective of the upcoming Fab Force certificate program to launch this fall. Melissa is a faculty member in business and computer science at ICC and she and Fab Lab ICC program developer Laura Schaid have done the heavy lifting in taking the Fab Force program from concept to reality. 

Employers are Looking for New Solutions 

Employers are on the hunt for members to add to their workforce who have a strong work ethic and can work well with others, but also need those who can work without constant supervision. Where are these workers going to come from and who is going to train them? 

Not all of today’s high school graduates are ready to head off to college, and even those who are have grown up in a very different environment than their parents and grandparents. Most of these students have never known a world without the Internet, and have been carrying around smart phones since their teen years. So what does this mean for those of us in higher education?  

Students and Parents Want More Bang for Their Buck 

The student of today, whether a recent high school graduate or an adult learner wanting a new career is very discerning. Today’s student wants more than a sage on the stage, expounding wisdom about concepts needed to be successful someday. There is an outcry for getting more bang for the buck when it comes to education, not only from students and parents, but from the federal government as well. The purse strings are being held tighter and tighter. Professors are stepping up their game in order to not only attract students, but to provide a better learning experience. Students want to understand the how and why of what they are being taught. They harbor a deep desire to be active participants in their learning process. So what is the answer?  

Fab Force Offers New Training Solutions 

Independence Community College and Fab Lab ICC have teamed up to help provide an answer. In the Fall of 2018 ICC will roll out a new academic, credit bearing program: Fab Force. This program will provide adult students of all ages and backgrounds an opportunity to get training in a way they cannot experience just anywhere. Fab Force is designed to provide core training in design thinking, conflict management, project management, leadership, as well as an understanding of the entrepreneurial mindset. In addition to the core courses, students will be able to choose from a variety of areas of interest to complete either a Certificate or an Associates of Applied Science Degree. Many of the classes have industry recognized credentials available to those students who successfully complete these specific courses.  

Experiential Learning Develops Problem Solving Skills 

The coursework within the Fab Force certificate and degree program will provide training that is relevant to the workplace. Students will become problem solvers, critical thinkers, and active learners. They will be able to seek out opportunities in the workplace and offer employers innovative solutions, making them an invaluable resource to their employer. All of this will happen through hands-on, experiential learning opportunities. From the first day students enter into a Fab Force class they will be making and doing. They will get the opportunity to learn the theory of their trade through action. By helping students become more active participants in their education, it is our belief they will obtain a better work ethic and desire to not only be better employees, but lifelong learners, as well. They will understand the “why” from the very beginning. The students will have an opportunity to see what they are working so hard for, that desired job which interests them. Faculty and staff of the Fab Force program will assist students in finding that area which interests them and help them to enroll in the classes best suited to the career they are interested in. These students will be equipped to enter into a workforce well equipped with a broad range of skills that will be appealing to any employer today. 

Today's guest writer is Melissa Ashford, faculty member in business and computer science at ICC and has been instrumental in taking Fab Force from concept to reality. 

Jim Correll is the director of Fab Lab ICC at the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship on the campus of Independence Community College. He can be reached at (620) 252-5349, by email at or Twitter @jimcorrellks. 

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