Innovation Center


SFCC continues to enhance our sustainability and advanced technology program offerings.  The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) and ecoAmerica selected SFCC as the “2017 AACC Solution Generation’s Climate Leadership Award” winner.

Santa Fe Community College (SFCC) is placing greater emphasis on economic development initiatives to help diversify the local/regional economy and create well-paying jobs for our graduates.  SFCC’s Innovation Center has formalized relationships with private sector ventures that are housed on while doing further commercialization of their business concepts.  This is providing opportunity for students, faculty and staff to be exposed to the innovation process and is providing internship opportunities for students.  The Innovation Center has received additional funding from LANS, to expand these efforts with a focus on technologies transferring from LANL.

In keeping with the hands-on approach to technology educations, SFCC created the Innovation Center to further the efforts of the Training Center Corporation to engage with future-focused technologies based startups. Innovation Center-TCC partnerships are focused on bio-manufacturing companies that are in the commercialization process who have agreed to provide “on-the-job” training to SFCC students. These student/technicians ideally will be employed by the company when they leave the SFCC campus. SFCC’s location between Sandia and Los Alamos National Labs and close association with NREL provides many opportunities for student training/internships at some of the best laboratories in the world, demonstrating to our students that they are capable of participating in and can obtain good paying jobs.

SFCC has established an Innovation Center that provides a development space for food, energy and water projects combining academic research, facilities management and the private sector. The goals of the Center are to reduce the campus carbon footprint, demonstrate viable solutions for bio based economies, provide a demonstration site for renewable and innovative technologies and provide economic and employment opportunities. The Innovation Center includes the SFCC Trades and Advanced Technology Center (TATC), the Training Center Corporation (TCC) and it serves as the core development and training resource to support these critical initiatives. The programs and facilities have brought national and international attention to Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico through such events as the visits of Senators Udall and Heinrich, Representatives Pelosi and Lujan as well as delegations from South America, Europe, Africa and Asia. The TATC at SFCC is one of the most advanced and diverse educational centers in the country. The TATC is LEED Platinum certified and is powered by advanced clean energy systems. Students and workforce have the opportunity to learn hands on skills with cutting edge technologies and applications in a real world environment.

The TATC houses programs in algae cultivation, aquaponics, bioenergy, biofuels, energy conservation, fabrication, green building, greenhouse management, hydroponics, micro-grid, solar energy, water treatment, water conservation, sustainable technologies and occupational safety within a 54 acre energy park on campus. The TATC also houses the Training Center Corporation (TCC), a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization which operates under the University Research Park Act. In 2015/16 the TCC created private-sector venture partnerships on the SFCC campus linked with academic programs to provide hands-on internships and on-the-job training for new workers. The TCC houses entrepreneurs in the fields of advanced biotechnology, bio-manufacturing, neuroscience and sustainable agriculture. Innovation-centered, these companies are focusing on next-generation crop genetics and viable solutions for the food, energy, water and health nexus. The TATC programs provide the students with the skills needed to enter the field or even start their own businesses.

The Training Center Corporation’s (TCC) objective is to empower local entrepreneurial innovation by supporting a commercialization-center for high technology startups in Santa Fe. The goal of the TCC is to substantially raise the number of high-paying, technology-based jobs available to Santa Fe’s recent high school and college graduates and foster an environment of continued higher education.

The TCC is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization formed in 2005 to foster economic development through business and education partnerships. In partnership with Santa Fe Community College (SFCC), the TCC places emphasis on economic development initiatives that diversify the local/regional economy, create high-paying jobs and connect recent graduates, current college students and high school students participating in early college programs to the expanding workforce in energy, technology and science. In 2015-2016 academic year the Training Center Corporation created six private-sector ventures on the Santa Fe Community College campus linked with academic programs to provide hands-on internships and on-the-job training for new workers. The TCC houses entrepreneurs in the fields of advanced biotechnology, bio-manufacturing, neuroscience and sustainable agriculture. Innovation-centered, these companies are focusing on next-generation crop genetics and solutions for food-energy-water nexus. It is anticipated that by 2018 the TCC will be providing 12 new hands-on, paid internship opportunities annually and more than 12 new full and part-time jobs created through these new companies each year. By 2020 the TCC will have added 70 or more paid positions to the Santa Fe economy.

The TCC enables the City of Santa Fe to strengthen its existing relationship with regional technology and advanced biotechnology, economic development opportunities. SFCC is a public two-year college with multiple workforce and career training programs, with an infrastructure to support burgeoning new technology companies through the TCC. The combined efforts of the TCC and SFCC raises Santa Fe’s access to the innovative business markets. Investing in the future of Santa Fe means providing a commercialization-center that allows global entrepreneurs opportunities to pilot innovative programs. The TCC is the connector between the national labs, state universities and the current high-technology entrepreneurs in Northern New Mexico. Santa Fe benefits from these established and growing connections by establishing needed resources and networks to high-technology jobs through internships, research support through established New Mexico Small Business Association initiatives, and state-of-the-art facilities at Santa Fe Community College partnered with the rich culture and heritage that makes Northern New Mexico a uniquely positioned partner in the global economy. The TCC sees the future of Santa Fe as a leader in creating new jobs in the green and high-technology sectors, expanding its tax base through innovative entrepreneurs and accredited career training for the next generation of New Mexicans.
The focus of the TCC is to substantially raise the number and local availability of high paying tech jobs. This will simultaneously address both the need to attract businesses to Santa Fe and to train Santa Fe’s own workforce to take part in these businesses as entrepreneurs and highly skilled employees. The TCC established world class research facilities and infrastructure for companies to commercialize their efforts locally. Santa Fe is strategically located but has lacked the infrastructure to attract new economic development in the biomanufacturing industries. The TCC and SFCC provide a complete platform for education, local employment and technology to create social and economic development in New Mexico. This unique public private partnership creates new economic opportunities for Santa Fe by attracting and inspiring new innovations, research and collaborative efforts to find solutions for critical problem in the areas of food, water energy and health.

This partnership has attracted national attention to the efforts of the college and its associated green tech businesses. This attention will help in identifying/branding the city as a desirable place for similar businesses to locate and as an event destination for networking and conferencing. These efforts have already attracted international conferences and workshops to Santa Fe creating multiple economic and educational benefits for our community.

(1) to grow the number of high-paying, technology based jobs available locally to Santa Fe college students and recent high school and college graduates
(2) to provide innovative work space and with high-level broadband access and state of the art lab facilities
(3) to build a network of regional, state, national and international partners who will build their business centers in Santa Fe
(4) to support innovative leaders and their entrepreneurship in high-technology and advanced biotechnology businesses.
(5) to showcase Santa Fe as a desirable place for technology businesses to locate
(6) to provide leadership that informs the college, city and county on how best to allocate efforts and funding to support the many Santa Fe area startup/ entrepreneurial advisement/support programs.
(7) The Training Center Corporation and Santa Fe Community College have partnered to promote Santa Fe as an advanced biotechnology center of excellence in Santa Fe County.

The SFCC Innovation Center uniquely aligns and integrates the role of SFCC by locating innovative businesses on campus, within programs, where it can provide a mutual benefit for the industrial partner, the community, and students. While business incubation on college campus’ has been established, the unique collaboration between Innovation Center partners aligns with the regional assets and needs that can provide advanced and accelerated pathways to resilient economic development. The leveraging of advanced biotechnology, new agricultural and high technology entrepreneurs from throughout the world, provide local community college students with unprecendented research experience and access that has led to advanced studies, program development and entrepreneurship. Five of the six current projects are private sector businesses supporting critical federal initiatives, including national security. These initiatives serve in a manner that leverage business development in the private sector and have already realized business spin-off. Focussed on the food-energy-water and health sectors, the Innovation Center integrates the regional and indiginous community values for regenertive and sustainable economy to address the most significant issues facing modern society.
A unique collaborative strength of the SFCC Innovation Center/SFCC relationship that further integrates the on-campus projects further into the community is the 2+2+2 relationship between high schools, the community college and universities. Intern opportunities to Innovation Center initiatives are available and age appropriate. In 2015, an SFCC alternative fuels graduate completed his associates’ degree one week prior to his high school graduation, which allowed him to start as a mid-point sophomore in engineering.

The Innovation Center, housed at SFCC, provides the advantage for the student community to access the otherwise close, but out of reach science resources in our region. As businesses launch and new business opportunities arise, the Innovation Center is committed to supporting STEM start up initiatives.
A. Integral to our nation’s security and energy resilience SFCC develops technologies and provides workforce development to address distributed energy and controls and microgrid technologies. The SFCC Distributed Energy and Controls program is an Applied Research project that provides hands on student experience on the onsite campus microgrid.

B. Identification of current and forecast job needs local businesses and tribes, LANL and NM State Government for career counseling, educational preparation and new instructional program development.
Recently the SFCC worked closely with the Microgrid Systems Laboratory (MSL) to convene DOE and tribal entities in developing training and pathways to energy resilience and sovereignty through microgrid technologies. This collaboration will provide the technical expertise and middle-skill education and training to support tribal energy independence, community renewal, and economic prosperity.
The degrees offered consist of curricula established or recognized by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, and U.S. Department of Agriculture. The degrees are accredited by the New Mexico Department of Higher Education, and the North Central Association of Colleges and Universities – The Higher Learning Commission.

C. To ensure client-based decision-making in the development of academic programs and certifications, continued review of new program areas to address workforce needs. Special emphasis will be directed at the at Los Alamos National Laboratory’s needs for specialized training in the areas of materials science, Job task analysis for worker qualification standards is provided to continue to develop the College’s capacity to address area workforce development needs, particularly in the technical and scientific areas.

Estimated job creation and economic benefit is contingent on independent market studies, business planning, and stated workforce need. To this end, the University Center at SFCC will assist in this analysis prior to implementation of a proposed project. Such planning has allowed for the majority of endeavors to be funded by the private sector or the primary benefactor. University Center funding support is primarily “leverage” in the interest of establishing self-sufficient and successful projects that are supported by the academic at SFCC. Measurable results can be quantified by student participation and placement of graduates in most programs as well as participation in regional related endeavors. Patents and use of technical capabilities in the public and private sector will measure technical dissemination from applied research projects.

Section 4. Supporting Information
SFCC’s University Center program and resulting projects rely heavily on partnerships among other academic and economic development entities in our service area. These partnerships include an eco-system of business development and entrepreneurial support to include the on-site Small Business Development Center tribal development corporations (collaborations since 2003), and the North Central Economic Development District (NCNMEDD with 30 years). SFCC’s University Center activities are integral to workforce community needs as defined by this client base.
Networking between entities involved with science and engineering stemming from LANL activities, local farmers markets and extension offices, other state and regional Colleges and Universities, and through strong relationships with local, state and federal political leadership is an integral part of aligning and garnering support for client driven University Center projects at SFCC.