press photos by nate jastrzemski NCC’s Lauren Loeffler is vice president of Workforce Development/Community Education and dean of the Fowler Southside Center.
The CIE is for use by students, staff, local organizations and even walk-ins. For more information about the CIE, call 610-332-8659.
CIE Director Raja Bhattacharya shares his experience in business and innovation with local residents. While gaining knowledge is one benefit of the CIE, Bhattacharya tells them gaining contacts in the community is another. “The instructors are facilitators,” he says. The conference room is one of several ready for use by small groups or appointments.
Cops ‘n’ Kids Reading Room Director Beverly Bradley participates in a meeting of NCC staff’s Community Service Club in one of the CIE’s open meeting rooms.
The CIE’s art gallery includes a small stage for live musical performances and an entire case filled with creations from the Fab Lab, as well as pieces by Michael Brolly, a woodworker who builds everything from boats to modern art such as this intricate corset made of countless delicate wooden strips. Another small gallery features works by NCC noncredit students.
The Fab Lab’s infamous TOBOR the Great has been with NCC for several years, and was a project between more than a dozen staff members from different departments. TOBOR moves, rises, falls, and roars at the command of an operator using an old Nintendo Power Glove.
Within the Martin Guitar Luthier Lab, residents can repair their own instruments. The Fab Lab also includes electrical, mechanical, computer, 3D printer and other shops. Director Jeffrey Boerner says the Fab Lab is for teaching “industrial arts on steroids.” The Fab Lab shops are also available to community use, whether for hobbies, work or Vo-Tech projects, so long as residents take necessary
NCC invites community to innovate
Northampton Community College is now integrating itself into Bethlehem’s business and design cultures much as it became a hub of higher education and career training more than 40 years ago: By opening its doors to the neighborhood.
The new Follett Family Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the culmination of a yearslong $5 million renovation process at the 511 E. Third St. Fowler Family Southside Center, is officially available for use by not only NCC students, but community organizations and even individual residents with a desire for improvement in personal, professional or business acumen.
CIE’s mission statement is to provide an open learning environment for innovation, technology and business skills, and first floor now includes art galleries, a Starbucks-inclusive cafeteria, a vastly expanded Fab Lab, a huge open area featuring open study tables, classrooms, office spaces, “brainstorming” alcoves with whiteboards, computers and a kitchenette, all of which is open to public use. Staff members are teachers and business owners with experience in entrepreneurship programs, and are developing a specialized entrepreneurship program. It will offer new skills, cross-technology training, small business development and counseling and hold workshops and events.
Workforce Development and Community Education Dean Lauren Loeffler directed a tour for media through the site Sept. 26 (last week) and said, “We want everyone and anyone to get used to this space.”
Loeffler said individuals and small groups are welcome to grab a bite or some coffee in the new Zime restaurant/cafeteria and make use of the center’s open collaboration spaces, but asks that larger groups requiring rooms to themselves call ahead. CIE: 610-332-8659 Fab Lab: 610-332-8665