DART-Joby AMAP: Empowering Futures, Fostering Growth

Monterey Bay DART and Joby Aviation call for Advance Manufacturing Apprenticeship Program applications.

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The DART-Joby Advanced Manufacturing Apprenticeship Program (AMAP) is a collaboration between the Monterey Bay Drone, Automation, and Robotics Technology (DART) Initiative and Joby Aviation, dedicated to meeting rapidly scaling industry needs and advancing inclusive economic mobility efforts in the Monterey Bay region. The DART-Joby AMAP has demonstrated remarkable success in establishing trusted industry-local workforce relationships, refining recruitment and training processes, and ultimately securing family-sustaining wage job outcomes by establishing productive partnerships between Joby Aviation and community-based organizations, academic institutions, and economic development entities.

The DART-Joby AMAP consists of 6-month paid apprenticeships, under the direction of highly skilled Joby Aviation personnel, that result in upskilling local community members to meet increased demand for advanced manufacturing technicians, robot operation and maintenance, and other entry-level aerospace career pathways. 

Since its launch in fall 2022, the DART-Joby AMAP has facilitated remarkable success. With 23 apprentices enrolled from a pool of over 200 applicants, 20 have transitioned to full-time employment at Joby in 2023. The success of this partnership is seen in the creation of increased opportunities and pathways for underserved community members, as well as continued growth and expansion of cutting edge technology companies within the region. 

“Our partnership with DART has unlocked numerous promising career opportunities in advanced manufacturing and established a model for developing the workforce of the future.” said Bonny Simi, President of Operations at Joby Aviation. “As we redefine the future of mobility, we have an opportunity to change the face of aerospace and make opportunities available to a more diverse workforce of talented individuals.”

In light of these measures of success, the established DART-Joby AMAP is ready to scale and meet the increasing skilled worker demand at Joby Aviation. The next round of funding from the Irvine Foundation Priority Communities Initiative builds on this established momentum in several ways including: 

  • Scaling the Workforce: supporting  Joby’s projected 690-worker growth trajectory by expanding the DART-Joby AMAP in California
  • Curriculum Development: creating advanced manufacturing-oriented curriculum for integration into local community colleges and workforce training centers
  • Community Access: expanding recruitment collaborations with community-based organizations to ensure broader community access to innovation-driven tech career pathways

“We are thrilled the Advanced Manufacturing Apprenticeship Program pilot has proven effective in opening up new, high-road career pathways for Salinas and Pajaro Valley residents, and has demonstrated to Joby and other emerging technology companies the tremendous potential of this region for supporting their appropriate scale growth” said Josh Metz, DART Executive Director. “It is a privilege to have the strong support of the James Irvine Foundation, active partnership with the Salinas Inclusive Economic Development Initiative and other community-base organizations, and continued engagement with Joby Aviation. We are honored to serve this role supporting the emergence of such an exciting industry, while contributing to realizing a more accessible and inclusive economy.”

The DART-Joby AMAP will continue to provide specialized education and skills training aligned with business needs, made possible by its longstanding collaboration with educational institutions throughout the region. Additionally, the DART-Joby AMAP will empower underserved populations, promote diversity in entrepreneurship, and offer training and employment opportunities to marginalized communities. By addressing these challenges head-on, the DART-Joby AMAP will continue to create a more equitable and prosperous future for the Central Coast region. 

If you or someone you know is interested in the 2024 DART-Joby Advanced Manufacturing Apprenticeship Program (AMAP) Cohort, please enter your information here. We will notify you when recruitment opens.

Monterey Bay DART and Joby Aviation Announce Call for Applications for Next Advanced Manufacturing Apprenticeship Program Cohort

MARINA, CA –Monterey Bay Drone, Automation, and Robotics Technologies (DART) Initiative and Joby Aviation, Inc. are pleased to announce the opening of applications for the next Advanced Manufacturing Apprenticeship Program (AMAP) cohort. This collaborative initiative aims to address the rapidly scaling industry needs and advance inclusive economic mobility efforts in the Monterey Bay region.

The DART-Joby AMAP is a testament to the success of industry-local workforce relationships, recruitment, and training processes. Established in fall 2022, the program has demonstrated remarkable outcomes, facilitating the transition of apprentices into full-time employment at Joby Aviation. Since its inception, over 60 apprentices have participated, with more than 90% transitioning into permanent positions at Joby as technicians, inspectors, and supervisors.

“Our partnership with DART has unlocked numerous promising career opportunities in advanced manufacturing and established a model for developing the workforce of the future,” said Joby Aviation President of Operations Bonny Simi. “As we redefine the future of mobility, we have an opportunity to change the face of aerospace and make opportunities available to a more diverse workforce of talented individuals.”

Building on this success, the DART-Joby AMAP is poised to scale further with the support of the Irvine Foundation Priority Communities Initiative. The program will expand its reach, supporting Joby’s projected 690-worker growth trajectory, developing an advanced manufacturing-oriented curriculum, and ensuring broader community access to innovation-driven tech career pathways.

“We are thrilled the Advanced Manufacturing Apprenticeship Program pilot has proven effective in opening up new, high-road career pathways for Salinas and Pajaro Valley residents,” said Executive Director of Monterey Bay DART Josh Metz. “It is a privilege to have the strong support of the James Irvine Foundation, an active partnership with Salinas Inclusive Economic Development Initiative (SIEDI), and ongoing engagement with Joby Aviation.”

The DART-Joby AMAP will continue to provide specialized education and skills training aligned with business needs, empowering underserved populations and promoting diversity in entrepreneurship. Interested individuals are encouraged to apply for the 2024 cohort to join this transformative program.

For more information and to register interest, visit: www.mbdart.org/joby-amap/ 

About Monterey Bay DART

The Monterey Bay Drone, Automation, and Robotics Technologies (DART) initiative is a non-profit dedicated to advancing innovation and creating high-road career pathways in the fields of drone, automation, and robotics technology. To learn more, visit: www.montereybaydart.org.

About Joby

Joby Aviation, Inc. (NYSE:JOBY) is a California-based transportation company developing an all-electric, vertical take-off and landing air taxi which it intends to operate as part of a fast, quiet, and convenient service in cities around the world. To learn more, visit: www.jobyaviation.com.

Dive into the Central Coast’s Economic Future: Startup Connect Recordings Now Available!

The Monterey Bay DART and the Institute for Innovation & Economic Development (iiED) hosted a dynamic Startup Connect meeting on Tuesday, January 9th. This virtual event brought together regional industry leaders to offer a comprehensive economic outlook for the Central Coast in 2024 and beyond. From Economic Development, Advanced Air Mobility, AgTech, and Hydrogen Power to Healthcare and Tourism, the presentations covered a diverse range of sectors. They offered a deep dive into their respective fields, brimming with valuable data, actionable insights, and inspiring visions for the future.

Missed the event? The wait is over! We’re thrilled to announce that all presentations are now available for public viewing HERE.

Ready to unlock the potential of the Central Coast’s future? Head over to the presentations below and start exploring! Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur, an aspiring innovator, or simply curious about the economic pulse of the region, there’s something for everyone in this treasure trove of knowledge.

Quinn Brady, Uplift Central Coast

Walt Duflock, Western Growers

Teresa Savage, See Monterey

Meg Burke Dingae, Montage Health

Dan Coughlin, Joby Aviation

Kevin Pease, PG&E - Conclusion & Wrap-up

CCAIPA release MBDART-A3 graphic

Monterey Bay DART Partners with A3 to Unravel Investment Secrets of Advanced Aviation Boom


CCAIPA release MBDART-A3 graphic

Marina, CA | December 19, 2023 – Monterey Bay DART is thrilled to announce a partnership with Advanced Aviation Alignment (A3) to unlock the secrets behind successful public-private investments in Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) and drone technology. This research will delve into how targeted investments in infrastructure, testing sites, and enablement areas can ignite economic growth, create quality career pathways, and strengthen regional resilience.

Across the US, communities are embracing AAM and sophisticated drone operations as game-changers for transportation, sustainability, and economic development. This study will analyze how strategic public investments in these sectors have led to the creation of exportable products, boosted local economies, and fostered inclusive job opportunities.

Key Research Focus:

Public-Private Investment Dynamics: The research will dissect the intricate relationship between public investments and private sector engagement in the AAM ecosystem. By studying successful initiatives across the country, the team aims to identify best practices for attracting private investment and fostering robust AAM ecosystems.
Sustainable Growth and Resilience: The study will explore how AAM investments can contribute to sustainable and resilient regional economies. This includes analyzing the potential for job creation, environmental benefits, and diversification of local economies.

Equitable Workforce Development: A crucial focus will be on understanding how AAM investments can create equitable pathways for community members to access quality jobs in the industry. The research will identify best practices for ensuring inclusive participation in this burgeoning field.

Driving Innovation in California: Monterey Bay DART, a leader in convening stakeholders and fostering innovative future-relevant markets, sees this partnership as a vital step forward. By understanding the impact of strategic investments, they aim to attract further private capital, inform policy decisions, and create an environment conducive to AAM development in Central California.


Josh Metz, Executive Director of Monterey Bay DART: “California has a rich aviation history, and we’re committed to keeping the innovation engine running. This research will help us leverage AAM’s potential for all Californians, creating jobs, boosting economies, and positioning our region as a leader in this revolutionary field.”

Matt Beatty, Founder and Principal Consultant of A3: “A3 is excited to join forces with MB DART, building on their impressive work with partners like Joby. By learning from other successful initiatives, we can develop a roadmap for California to stay ahead of the curve in the AAM revolution.”

Report and Timeline:

The research is expected to be completed in fall 2024 and will culminate in a comprehensive report with actionable recommendations for public and private stakeholders. The findings will be presented to the Monterey Bay DART Board of Directors and made available to the public.

Contact: For more information, please contact Monterey Bay DART at (831) 264-8299.

About Monterey Bay DART:

The Monterey Bay Drone, Automation, and Robotics Technology (DART) initiative is a non-profit dedicated to advancing future-relevant workforce and economic development solutions. Learn more: https://Montereybaydart.org

About Advanced Aviation Alignment Consulting:

A3 guides state, local, and industry stakeholders through the evolving aviation landscape, focusing on AAM. Learn more: https://advancedaviationalignment.com/

Monterey Bay Regional Advanced Technology Workforce Training Center Feasibility Study


Monterey Bay DART releases Advanced Technology Regional Workforce Training Center Feasibility Study assessing need and opportunity for future-focused job skills training center and program.

Marina, CA – December 13, 2023. Monterey Bay DART is pleased to announce the release of an advanced technology regional workforce training center feasibility study in collaboration with the Hatamiya Group . The feasibility study assessed existing facilities, programs, structures, and site options to determine the need and demand for a new regional workforce training center.

“Our extensive data collection and thorough analysis of the Monterey Bay Region’s demographic and socio-economic makeup concluded that the Region retains the fundamental attributes for the potential development of a regional advanced manufacturing workforce training center,” says Lon Hatamiya, President and CEO of The Hatamiya Group. “Our conclusions highlight a younger, diverse, and less educated workforce actively seeking employment within the Region. This conclusion is further supported by the various survey responses and stakeholder outreach highlighting the need for current and future workforce training opportunities across Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz counties.”

The following recommendations were set forth based upon key findings developed through key stakeholder interviews, surveys, extensive data analysis, and independent research:

  • Develop a collaborative partnership with Monterey Bay Region community colleges and universities to provide distributed workforce training courses based upon their existing and available curriculum.
  • Develop a specific advanced manufacturing training curriculum working in partnership with Monterey Bay region community colleges and universities, with input from an advisory board of local employers, industry leaders, and community-based organizations that meet their respective workforce needs now and into the future.
  • Plan, Design, and Implement an advanced manufacturing workforce training center that is centrally located and accessible to those in need of training and will be the site to deliver the specific advanced curriculum.

“We are excited to release this advanced technology workforce training center feasibility study to our multi-sector community of interest. The Monterey Bay region is at a pivotal moment to support rapid upskilling for jobs of the future in advanced manufacturing, electric vehicle and robotics operations and maintenance, and other emerging technologies,’ says Josh Metz, Monterey Bay DART Executive Director. “We hope this study provides insights, policy and funding guidance to our workforce development and education focused community colleagues, and will help make such a center a reality in the Monterey Bay region.”

To read the full report, please use the form below or email your request to info@montereybaydart.org.

Feasibility Report Request

About Monterey Bay DART:

Monterey Bay DART is a non-profit public benefit corporation dedicated to promoting innovation, future-relevant workforce, and economic development solutions. The initiative is a collaborative effort with representatives from local government, business, education, and community organizations. Visit montereybaydart.org for more details.

About the Hatamiya Group:

The Hatamiya Group is a consulting firm with over 30 years of experience in economic development, workforce development, and strategic planning. Specializing in working with public and private sector clients in California and throughout the United States, the Hatamiya Group brings a wealth of expertise to the completed feasibility study. Learn more at hatamiyagroup.com.

2023 Year in Review

Monterey Bay DART Year in Review: Soaring High in 2023!

2023 Year in Review

As we bid farewell to another remarkable year, we want to express our sincere gratitude for being part of the Monterey Bay Drone, Automation, and Robotics Technology (DART) community. It has been a year filled with innovation, growth, and exciting developments, and we’re thrilled to share our Year in Review with you.

A Year of Achievements:

  • In October, Monterey Bay DART and CSUMB secured a $1.95 million grant from the James Irvine Foundation. This funding will build on our momentum, expanding the DART-Joby Advanced Manufacturing Apprenticeship Program (AMAP), launching the DART-FarmNG AMAP, strengthening partnerships with CBOs, and enhancing DART’s organizational capacity. 

Highlighting Key Projects:

  • Monterey Bay DART, in partnership with the Hatamiya Group, is finalizing a Feasibility Study which assessed the demand for a Regional Workforce Training Center focused on preparing the local workforce for the jobs of the future in advanced manufacturing, drones, automation, and robotics technology. Expected completion in Q1 2024.
  • The CITRIS Center for Drone Education and Research (CIDER) at UC Santa Cruz and the Monterey Bay DART are continuing to make significant progress on our collaborative DART Workforce Skills Demand Study. This study is actively assessing the current and future workforce skills demand for the use of drones in agriculture, infrastructure inspection, construction monitoring, and related fields within the tri-county region. Expected completion in Q2 2024.
  • In June, Monterey Bay DART supported the planning, marketing and implementation of the UCANR Drone Camp at CSUMB, including 8 Drone Camp scholarships in partnership with Building Healthy Communities in Seaside. The UCANR Drone Camp celebrated its 6th year in Monterey acknowledging DART’s instrumental role in facilitating the UCANR and CSUMB collaboration.

Community Collaboration:

Our thriving community is at the heart of everything we do. This year, we’ve fostered even stronger partnerships and collaborations. Together, we’ve shared insights, exchanged ideas, and collectively worked towards shaping the future of community and economic development in our region.

  • In November, the Monterey Bay Joby Aviation Working Group celebrated Joby Aviation’s $9.8M Cal Competes Grant to expand their facility at Marina Airport. This award will leverage a $41.3 million investment by Joby, creating 690 full-time jobs statewide by 2027. Locally, this will open hundreds of job opportunities, building on the DART-Joby Advanced Manufacturing Apprenticeship pilot program.
  • In March, Monterey Bay DART hosted a delegation from the Kern Career Technical Education Campus (CTEC). Participants from Monterey Bay included Cabrillo College, UCSC, CSUMB, Monterey County, Learning For Life Charter School, MBEP, and Joby Aviation.
  • Additionally, DART was represented at the following community outreach events during the past year:
    • Black August 2023
    • Monterey Peninsula Chamber of Commerce – Economic Vitality Committee
    • California Special Districts Association Annual Meeting
    • EDGE Collaborative iHub Convening, Manteca
    • ChicoStart – North State Familiarity Tour
    • SIEDI Annual Convening 2023 
    • MBEP State of the Region 2023 
    • CALED Annual Conference, Los Angeles 2023
    • DOT Inter-Agency Working Group on Advanced Air Mobility, October 2023

Industry Events and Engagements:

Looking Ahead to 2024:

As we embark on a new year, Monterey Bay DART is committed to exploring new frontiers and continuing to lead the way in the ever-evolving landscape of drone, automation, and robotics technology.

Thank You for Your Support:

None of our achievements would be possible without the unwavering support of our community, partners, and stakeholders. As we reflect on the past year, we’re excited about the opportunities that lie ahead. Stay tuned for more exciting developments, projects, and collaborations in 2024!

Wishing you a joyful holiday season and a prosperous New Year!

The Monterey Bay Joby Aviation Working Group Celebrates $9.8M CalCompetes Award to Joby Aviation


November 17, 2023

Marina will see hundreds of jobs, expanded investment in manufacturing 

Marina, CA – The Monterey Bay Joby Aviation Working Group is celebrating the $9.8M Cal Competes grant awarded to Joby Aviation to enable the manufacturing, maintenance and pilot training facility expansion at the Marina Municipal Airport in Central California. This transformative award will leverage an additional $41.3 million investment by Joby and hiring of 690 full time jobs throughout the state by 2027. Locally, hundreds of new job opportunities will be open to workers in our region building upon the DART-Joby Advanced Manufacturing Apprenticeship pilot program. 

“This grant to Joby for their planned manufacturing expansion in Marina affirms California’s commitment to build the future of advanced air mobility through a partnership with government, community, and industry, which I like to describe as the Marina Way,” said State Senator Anna M. Caballero, author of SB800 to create the regulatory framework for advanced air mobility. 

The State’s $9.8M investment leverages the dedication and persistence of the Working Group, who met regularly over the past year, in collaboration with State officials, elected representatives and community-based organizations to support Joby’s expansion in Marina. During the CalCompetes Committee hearing, Maria Elena Manzo, Project Director of Mujeres en Accion, stood alongside Joby CFO Matt Feld, in front of an aircraft under construction to represent the model of inclusive economic development that centers community and access to high-road jobs envisioned by Governor Newsom for a sustainable and equitable recovery from the pandemic while transitioning to a carbon-neutral economy. 

Bruce Delgado, Mayor of Marina, stated, “Marina is excited that, with this CalCompetes grant, Joby will be able to expand their production capabilities at our Marina Municipal Airport, creating hundreds of new, local jobs. The funding will also support Joby in expanding their research and development hub here in Marina and continue their success as a leader in the eVTOL industry.”

The planned expansion at the Marina Municipal Airport is “shovel ready” because of the constant collaboration among the Working Group to collectively problem solve and remove barriers as Joby pursued necessary approvals, power upgrades and planning requirements. Josh Metz, of Monterey Bay DART, who coordinated the Working Group highlighted, “This was truly a team effort. We are excited to see how the new facilities and workforce demand will increase aerospace career pathway opportunities for Salinas and Pajaro Valley residents and anchor the emerging climate-smart, aviation and robotics technology ecosystem on the Central Coast. This is a big win for our region that will inspire more opportunities ahead.”

The Monterey Bay Joby Aviation Working Group includes: the Monterey Bay Drone Automation and Robotics Technology (DART) Initiative, the Salinas Inclusive Economic Development Initiative (SIEDI), the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP), the City of Marina, Monterey County, CSU Monterey Bay, UC Santa Cruz, PG&E, Central Coast Clean Energy, the Office of Senator Anna Caballero, Senator John Laird, Senator Dawn Addis, and Congressman Panetta. 

State Senator John Laird, District 17: “Joby has been at the forefront of pioneering the evolution towards environmentally sustainable air transportation. They exemplify the California spirit through their unwavering diligence and tenacity. I am genuinely privileged to host not only their manufacturing facility in Marina, but also their headquarters in Santa Cruz within the bounds of my Senate District. The achievements enabled by this grant promise to positively catalyze our communities throughout the Monterey Bay region.” 

Sonia M. De La Rosa, County Administrative Officer, County of Monterey: “Joby Aviation’s groundbreaking strides in environmentally sustainable air transportation resonate deeply with Monterey County’s ethos. Hosting their manufacturing hub in the City of Marina, Monterey County is a true privilege. This grant signifies a pivotal turning point, igniting a wave of positive impact throughout the Monterey Bay region. It stands as a testament to our collective dedication, uniting diverse organizations, leaders, and communities in advancing our shared vision for inclusive economic growth and environmental sustainability. The County of Monterey stands firmly behind Joby’s expansion within our region, continuing our unwavering support as they pioneer sustainable aviation technology, fostering growth, and aligning with our commitment to a greener, more prosperous future.” 

President Vanya Quiñones, Cal State Monterey Bay: “Cal State Monterey Bay is excited by the opportunities this new grant brings for creating new career pathways for students within our university. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Joby Aviation and DART, especially as we launch our new College of Science mechatronics engineering program and continue the work of our College of Business Institute of Innovation and Economic Development.”

Larry Samuels, Strategic Advisor to the Chancellor, UC Santa Cruz: “Joby’s Marina expansion recognizes the unique workforce opportunities in the Greater Salinas MSA. We are enthusiastic about the potential of creating an Advanced Air Mobility Tech Hub in the region and Joby’s support and leadership towards that vision is to be commended.”

Tahra Goraya, President & CEO MBEP: “Joby’s visionary clean-energy aircraft technology is having a transformative influence on the way we think about transportation while creating sustainable, high-skilled jobs that are reinvigorating our regional economy. We’re thrilled to partner with Joby as it continues to expand.”

Barbara Meister, Salinas Inclusive Economic Development Initiative (SIEDI): “This is what inclusive economic development looks and feels like. The DART-Joby apprenticeship is proof that the Salinas Valley, despite its challenges, has motivated workers ready to contribute to an innovative company like Joby and share in the economic benefits of its success. SIEDI organizations are working on a robust workforce development strategy and persevering on the issues of housing, childcare, education and digital access, foundational to a thriving and equitable economy that serves all of us.” 


About Monterey Bay DART Initiative

The Monterey Bay Drone, Automation, and Robotics Technology (DART) Initiative is a pioneering nonprofit organization committed to fostering innovation and creating high-road career pathways in the fields of drone, automation, and robotics technology. Through strategic partnerships, community engagement, and educational programs, we aim to empower underserved communities and drive inclusive economic growth in the Monterey Bay region.

About the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP)

Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) is a regional member-supported nonprofit organization consisting of public, private, and civic entities located throughout the counties of Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz. Founded in 2015, our mission is to improve the economic health and quality of life in the region.

About Cal State Monterey Bay

Cal State Monterey Bay is a mid-size residential campus that provides more than 7,500 students an extraordinary opportunity to learn in an inspiring coastal environment just one mile from the shores of the beautiful Monterey Bay. Our diverse student body receives personal attention in small classes while pursuing degrees in 25 undergraduate and 9 graduate majors.

About the Salinas Inclusive Economic Development Initiative (SIEDI)

SIEDI is composed of 9 community-based organizations, with deep roots and connections in the Salinas Valley community. With funding from the James Irvine Foundation in partnership with the Community Foundation for Monterey County, the initiative is building the capacity of these nonprofits to influence inclusive recovery and economic development, especially those related to the preservation and creation of quality, family-sustaining jobs.

About the University of California, Santa CruzA global research university, UC Santa Cruz is part of the world’s most celebrated system of public higher education and stands among the most renowned institutions of higher learning. Leading at the intersection of innovation and social justice, UC Santa Cruz faculty and students conduct transformative research and scholarship that serves society. Undergraduate students experience a small liberal arts college environment with the depth and rigor of a major research university through the pairing of high-impact research with 10 tight-knit residential colleges – a rare combination among U.S. public universities. UC Santa Cruz shares the distinction of being the youngest member of the Association of American Universities and one of only five members that is both a Hispanic-Serving Institution and an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions.

2023 Monterey Bay DART Symposium Unites Industry, Academia, Government and Communities


Marina, CA, November 7, 2023 – The 2023 DART Symposium, held at the CSUMB University Center from October 11th to October 13th, concluded successfully, marking a milestone event in the world of Advanced Air Mobility, Unmanned Aerial Systems, Agricultural Technology, and Inclusive Economic Development. With a diverse range of insightful discussions, workshops, and notable speakers, the symposium lived up to its promise of facilitating collaboration, knowledge sharing, and inclusive cross-sector engagement.

**Day 1 – Community Integration**

The first day of the symposium kicked off with an enlightening Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) Short-Course, hosted by the Community Air Mobility Initiative. This workshop provided state and local decision-makers, agency staff, urban and transportation planners, and interested individuals with a comprehensive introduction to the emerging world of advanced air mobility.

Symposium participants had the exclusive opportunity to join the Joby Aviation at Marina tour, gaining a behind-the-scenes look at Joby Aviation’s advanced manufacturing facilities at the Marina Municipal Airport.

At lunch, Josh Metz, Executive Director of MBDART, and Ken Smith, Lead Organizer of the Salinas Inclusive Economic Development Initiative, extended a warm welcome to all attendees. Senator Anna Caballero, California State Senate District 14,  shared her insights on the importance of AAM to the California economy and to the Salinas Valley workforce.

In the afternoon, the Community Integration – Economic & Workforce Development Workshop brought together various stakeholders to discuss economic and workforce development opportunities and challenges related to advanced air mobility and agricultural technology adoption. The day concluded with the Airspace Integration Corridors & Central Coast Flight Information Exchange Workshop, exploring the potential for establishing safe and secure UAS integration corridors in California.

**Day 2 – AAM & UAS Economic Development Opportunities**

The second day commenced with a hearty breakfast and registration, followed by welcoming remarks by CSUMB College of Business Dean, Dr. Marylou Shockley. Matt Field, Chief Financial Officer at Joby Aviation, delivered an insightful keynote focused on Joby Aviation’s development and implementation pathway.

Two engaging panels delved into supporting continued AAM development (Moderated by MBDART Strategic Advisor/COO, Shari Tavaf), and the creation and management of airspace innovation corridors (Moderated by MBDART Co-Founder, Chris Bley). Notable industry leaders and experts led these discussions, shedding light on the state of research and development and the importance of innovation corridors.

The day continued with a featured, all-female leader panel (moderated by Community Air Mobility Initiative Executive Director, Yolanka Wulff), discussing government’s role in supporting AAM innovation and safety, followed by discussions on infrastructure, vertiports, and test facilities (moderated by UC Berkeley transportation futurist and researcher, Adam Cohen). Following that informative session, Fireside Chat with Carol Dietrich, Founder & President @Jump Aero Inc. and Dean Donovan, Partner @Diamond Stream Partners. Rounding out the day with exploring new return on investment opportunities in the AAM market (moderated by CSUMB College of Business Professor, Dr. Jennifer Kuan).

The evening concluded with a Networking Reception at the University Center, allowing participants to build valuable connections.

**Day 3 – Partnerships & Workforce Development**

The final day began with breakfast and registration, followed by an inspiring keynote from Daniel Theobald, Co-Founder & President of MassRobotics,  setting the stage for discussions on agtech innovation and workforce development.

Panel discussions on public-private workforce development partnerships and community partners in workforce and economic development highlighted the importance of collaboration in nurturing talent and creating economic opportunities.

The symposium concluded with closing remarks, emphasizing the significance of partnerships and workforce development in the rapidly evolving AAM and UAS industries.

The 2023 DART Symposium was a resounding success, with participants and speakers leaving with a deeper understanding of the potential and challenges of the AAM and UAS sectors. The event fostered collaboration among industry experts, government officials, and community leaders, paving the way for a more connected and innovative future.

For more information about the 2023 DART Symposium and upcoming events, please visit https://montereybaydart.org/symposium/.


**Contact Information:**

Josh Metz Executive Director Monterey Bay DART (831) 254-8299

Our Sponsors and Partners

SIEDI Delegation Explores FIRA-USA 2023

Author: Barbara Meister, SIEDI Mentor

A SIEDI (Salinas Inclusive Economic Development Initiative) delegation explored the emerging world of robotics in agriculture by attending the FIRA-USA conference in September at the Salinas Rodeo Grounds. Participants included representatives from Mujeres en Acción, ALBA and Loaves, Fishes and Computers along with the Ag Tech class from Rancho Cielo

Drone Pavilion

The conference drew entrepreneurs, academics, government scientists, graduate students, venture capitalists, journalists and growers from all parts of the globe. Thanks to our partners at DART, 12 of us had the chance to see field-level robotic demonstrations, meet company representatives, and hear panel discussions about the emergence of robotics and mechanization of agriculture, its promises and possibilities, and the threats and opportunities that come with technological innovation.   

SIEDI leaders had several key takeaways and lots of questions.   Robotics is driven, at least in part, by the shortage of farm labor. Robotics and the mechanization of production agriculture will certainly change work.  

Some new jobs will be created as robotics will require engineering and programming skills for their creation and problem-solving applications. Could these be job opportunities for graduates of Hartnell and CSUMB’s new Mechatronics program? Could the sons and daughters of farm workers be prepared for these jobs? 

Drone Pavilion

Some jobs will be replaced, not immediately, but over time. There is not a robotic solution to harvest strawberries in the field (yet?) because it is difficult for a robotic eye to see the fruit under the leafy canopy of a strawberry plant. A more likely robotic application will be a machine to cut the pre-harvest berry runners and replace those jobs. For a grower, the higher return on labor is during harvest, not during pre-harvest maintenance of the plant.  

Some jobs are at present being replaced. The mechanized PlantTape,  only needs 2 workers to operate it when typically there are 8 or more workers riding a machine and feeding transplants into the soil.  

Some jobs will become safer. We saw an autonomous sprayer that could run at night, by itself and thus eliminate or reduce pesticide exposure for workers. On the other hand, the job of a sprayer often pays a $2-3 per hour premium, and is an attractive job for some because of the higher pay. What happens to these workers when they are replaced by machines?  

Ag Demonstration

Some jobs will be made more efficient. We saw smaller robots, called Burro and Amiga, that could carry small loads behind or alongside a worker, reducing physical burdens and increasing time-labor efficiency. For piece-rate crops, like strawberries, the time a harvester spends carrying a carton of berries to the end of the row is money lost. Will the cost-savings of a robot flow to the worker because they are more productive now? 

SIEDI leaders concluded that at present, robots have both the potential to be a complement to making work safer, less physically demanding, and more efficient for workers AND robots can displace workers. We are  eager to explore the questions of opportunities and threats to our Salinas Valley workforce. How do we create a pathway for the  jobs being created by innovation in ag tech for our youth? How do we re-skill and up-skill those currently work to plant and harvest our food? What impact will robots have on wages for farm workers?  

Drone Pavilion

As SIEDI prepares for its plan of work for the next two years, we are eager to have more conversations, starting with farm workers themselves – what do they want from ag tech? And with small farmers, can robots improve efficiencies at small scale? What capacity do our educational institutions, adult schools and community colleges have for upskilling and re-skilling our current workers? What kind of partnerships can we create alongside these institutions, including CSUMB and UCSC, to prepare our Salinas Valley students for the design, engineering, programming and manufacturing of ag tech? We are eager to talk with farmers who are using and experimenting with ag tech to find out what they are learning and the impact on their labor force. And we want to talk to the ag tech companies in our region  to understand what problems they are trying to solve and their workforce needs.   

Robotics and automation are happening. SIEDI is ready to be proactive in mitigating the downsides and shape how this innovation can enable more Salinas Valley families to be included in the economic opportunities this technology will create.

MBDART and CSUMB awarded $1.95M workforce development James Irvine Foundation grant


Monterey Bay Drone, Automation and Robotics Technology (DART) Initiative and CSU Monterey Bay Awarded $1.95M Grant by the James Irvine Foundation

Marina, CA – 10/12/23 – The Monterey Bay Drone, Automation and Robotics Technology (DART) Initiative and CSU Monterey Bay are thrilled to announce the successful acquisition of a $1.95 million funding award from the James Irvine Foundation. This generous grant will propel their collaborative mission forward, building upon momentum established during the 2022-23 period, and helping DART achieve ambitious program goals and objectives over the next two years.

In 2022-23, with the invaluable support of the James Irvine Foundation, the Monterey Bay DART Initiative, working in collaboration with Joby Aviation, the CSU Monterey Bay Institute for Innovation and Economic Development, and the University Corporation as fiscal agent, made significant strides in strengthening industry and community-based organizational partnerships. Key outcomes of the initial funding round include: Establishing the DART-Joby Advanced Manufacturing Apprenticeship Program (AMAP) pilot, completing a regional workforce training center feasibility study, and supporting the expansion of Joby’s prototype manufacturing capabilities at the Marina Airport. 

“We are grateful for the expanded support of the James Irvine Foundation, as well as the continued partnership of our many regional partners – especially Joby Aviation and CSUMB, and Monterey County, City of Marina, UC Santa Cruz MBEST, the Salinas Inclusive Economic Development Initiative, and the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership,” said Josh Metz, MBDART Executive Director. “We look forward to extending these partnerships and engaging new ones to realize the economic development potential of these exciting technologies, rightly applied to solving critical issues of our time, while creating a more inclusive economy on the Central Coast and beyond.”  


Goals for the awarded program funding, spanning from October 2023 through September 2025, include: Extension of the DART-Joby AMAP and initiation of a new DART-FarmNG AMAP, Deepening partnerships with community-based organizations (CBO’s), and further Increasing DART organizational capacity.

“Our partnership with DART has enabled us to forge deeper connections within our community, paving the way for new upskilling opportunities and career onramps that are tailored for the diverse population in our region.” said Cody Cleverly, Workforce Development Lead at Joby Aviation. “With this funding, we are poised to build on that momentum and establish a scalable framework that can be deployed across industries to close skill gaps, empower workers, and uplift entire communities.”


“We’re glad to be able to partner with DART to promote advanced manufacturing jobs for workers in our region and to support exciting local firms like Joby and Farm-NG,” said Jennifer Kuan, associate professor of entrepreneurship and economics in CSUMB’s School of Business Department and interim Executive Director of Innovation and Research for iiED.

The Monterey Bay DART Initiative is profoundly grateful to the James Irvine Foundation for their unwavering support and commitment to our mission. With this significant grant, we are well-positioned to continue our work in advancing technology-driven career opportunities, fostering community engagement, and contributing to the growth and development of our region.


### About Monterey Bay DART Initiative

The Monterey Bay Drone, Automation, and Robotics Technology (DART) Initiative is a pioneering organization committed to fostering innovation and creating high-road career pathways in the fields of drone, automation, and robotics technology. Through strategic partnerships, community engagement, and educational programs, we aim to empower underserved communities and drive economic growth in the Monterey Bay region.

### Media Contact:

Josh Metz

MBDART Executive Director


(831) 264-8299

MBDART hosts US Commercial Service and US Embassy Representatives

MBDART was honored to co-host the US Commercial Service and Market Access Specialists from US Embassies in Germany, Turkiye, Croatia, and Romania for a trade focused exchange. Working in partnership with the Monterey County Economic Development Office, Central Coast Marketing Team, Monterey Bay Economic Partnership, UC Santa Cruz-MBEST, Santa Cruz County Economic Development, See Monterey, Monterey Wines, and Joby Aviation, the local coalition and Commerce teams held a day of meetings and tours at the UCMBEST Marina Office and Joby Aviation’s Marina Manufacturing facilities.

“We really appreciate Joanne, Chris and the whole delegation for making the time to come visit us here in Marina and the Monterey Bay region. We learned about key features of their respective markets, tools and programs available to U.S. companies looking to initiate or expand EU trade, and key market access events occurring throughout the year. We also had the opportunity to educate the EU-based folks about the amazing companies, economic drivers, and quality of life offered here in the Monterey Bay region. Perhaps most importantly, we had the chance to meet, share a meal and establish person-to-person connections that will facilitate more effective and efficient engagements into the future.”

Josh Metz, Executive Director, MBDART

US Embassy Market Access Specialists provided information and insights into unique market interests and access information for each of their respective countries. Topics such as key growth areas, Commerce provided market access services, and key events were discussed. The local coalition provided market and organization overviews, including strategic programs, key economic sectors, interest and opportunities for Foreign Direct Investment, and tourism and hospitality opportunities for EU travelers.

“Our meeting with DART leadership and so many local experts who are instrumental in leading economic development in the Monterey Bay region was incredibly valuable.  Gaining a deeper understanding of the industries that underpin the regional economy and drive workforce development allowed for an enriching conversation about how the U.S. Commercial Service/ITA can help support existing efforts to grow international trade and investment the region.  We look forward to more such engagements in the months ahead.”

Joanne Vliet, Director, U.S. Commercial Service – Silicon Valley/San Jose
U.S. Department of Commerce | International Trade Administration

The exchange was productive and left the Commerce and EU teams with increased market awareness, inspiration for future exchanges, and key contacts to develop new market channels for Monterey Bay regional and California companies. Significant international opportunities exist in sectors including travel & tourism, processed food, education/training, agtech, aviation, and information technology, all of which are key industries driving the regional economy. We look forward to growing and expanding these relationships, both with the local San Jose based Commerce team and their US Embassy-based colleagues.

About the US Commercial Service

The U.S. Commercial Service is the trade promotion arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration. U.S. Commercial Service trade professionals in over 100 U.S. cities and in more than 75 countries help U.S. companies get started in exporting or increase sales to new global markets. The Global Markets unit promotes U.S. exports, especially among small and medium-sized enterprises; advances and protects U.S. commercial interests overseas; and attracts inward investment into the United States. https://www.trade.gov/