Austin Community College to open new manufacturing incubator in 2020

Austin Community College's manufacturing incubator will be housed in a building currently under construction on the ACC Highland campus.

Austin Community College's manufacturing incubator will be housed in a building currently under construction on the ACC Highland campus.

Ed Latson, executive director of the Austin Regional Manufacturers Association, said in the six years he has been working in his current position, the biggest challenge local manufacturers have faced is attracting and maintaining talent.

“There’s more than 1,700 businesses here, and they’re all thriving. They’re doing fantastic, but they’re throttled by people,” Latson said. “They have demand and customers. They don’t always have the skilled workforce to run their equipment and get the product out the door. Can you imagine anything more frustrating than that, as a business owner?”

A new incubator program at Austin Community College is looking to address that problem for the local manufacturing industry while also providing training for students and a space for start-up companies to grow.

The incubator will be housed in a building currently under construction on ACC’s Highland campus—one that is scheduled to open in 2020, according to ACC. It will become the third incubator on campus, joining the bioscience and fashion spaces. Each of the three are designed to fill a need in the local economy by combining space for local small businesses and entrepreneurs with opportunities for ACC students.

ACC President Richard Rhodes said the community college chose the specializations for the three incubators based on needs in the local economy identified by its partners, such as the city of Austin. Rhodes said the recent growth in manufacturing made that industry an obvious focal point for the community college.

According to the ARMA, manufacturing companies account for more than 57,000 jobs in Central Texas, and the industry accounts for 10.3% of the region’s gross domestic product. Rhodes said there are significant challenges for the industry that ACC can help address.

“One of the problems we have in Central Texas, for small startups, those who want to get into the business—there’s not a good training space for that to happen,” Rhodes said.

The incubator will include two spaces: the Innovative Manufacturing Prototype Acceleration Central Texas—or IMPACT—lab, which will provide facilities for manufacturing companies to develop prototypes and products; and the manufacturing academy, which will offer high school students a chance to complete dual-credit courses that will lead to a certificate and will help them prepare for a career in manufacturing.

Mitch Jacobson is the executive director of the Austin Technology Incubator at the University of Austin, which partnered with ACC in establishing both the manufacturing and the biosciences spaces.

Jacobson said small companies in their early stages need a space to build and design their products in order to get them out to the market. The advent of 3D printers made it much easier for companies to make products, Jacobson said, but entrepreneurs still need access to technology and spaces to manufacture.

“The more we can have these kinds of spaces training special young people—it opens up a whole new aspect of industries they potentially couldn’t have gotten involved with before a center like this was built," he said. "It creates opportunity.”

Editor's Note: This story was updated to reflect the correct name of the Innovative Manufacturing Prototype Acceleration Central Texas—or IMPACT—lab.
SHARE THIS STORY


MOST RECENT

Travis County commissioners voted to allow staff to begin contract negotiations for a new women's jail facility at a Dec. 10 meeting. (Courtesy Travis County Sheriff's Office)
Travis County begins contract negotiations for women’s jail facility as overall jail population continues to decline

The county has planned to build a new, separate women’s facility for years, despite some pushback from local activists.

A photo of the exterior of Flying Fish Swim Academy.
Flying Fish Swim Academy celebrates Dripping Springs opening

A new facility offering swimming lessons has opened in Dripping Springs.

The Microtel Inn and Suites is located in Southeast Austin, only a 4.5-mile drive from the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. (Courtesy Google Maps)
Zoning concern prevents Austin from moving forward with second conversion of hotel to homeless shelter

Officials have already indicated they are eyeing other hotels and motels for purchase and conversion into homeless shelters.

This is the Estancia property that was purchased by Texas Children's on Dec. 10. (Courtesy Texas Children's Hospital)
Texas Children’s Hospital eyes further expansion in Austin with purchases of land

Houston-based Texas Children's Hospital has closed on the purchase of two plots of land in the Austin area.

Common winter allergies in Texas are caused by pollen from the Ashe juniper—also known as a mountain cedar. The tree is native to the area. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
As pollen counts rise in Central Texas, learn about cedar fever and allergy prevention

As temperatures cool heading into the winter season in Central Texas, pollen counts from Ashe juniper trees begin to climb, causing seasonal allergies referred to locally by residents as “cedar fever.”

A photo of Todd Washburn sitting behind a desk.
Get to know Dripping Springs ISD Superintendent Todd Washburn

New Dripping Springs ISD Superintendent Todd Washburn sits down for a Q&A.

A photo of the sign for Code 1 Concierge Care
Code 1 Concierge Care brings medical services to South Austin

Code 1 Concierge Care opened its doors Dec. 1.

Austin Mayor Pro Tem Delia Garza, at the lectern, speaks at a November 2017 press conference. Garza filed her candidacy for Travis County attorney on Dec. 9.
Delia Garza files for Travis County attorney race, will finish term as Austin Mayor Pro Tem

Austin Mayor Pro Tem Delia Garza filed her candidacy paperwork Dec. 9 to run for Travis County attorney as a Democrat.

Belterra Taekwondo opened Dec. 5. (Courtesy Brandon Knicely/Belterra Taekwondo)
Belterra Taekwondo has opened in Belterra Village

A new martial arts studio has come to Dripping Springs.

Byron Smith, left, and Tim Manson are planning to break ground on their new storage business called XSpace in late January. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)
Australian businessmen betting on success of innovative storage model in western Travis County

A primary difference between their model and more traditional storage models, they say, is the fact that their units are for sale and not for rent. But there are other differences.

Back to top