Entries by Josh Metz

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

Monterey Bay hosts Kern CTEC workforce training center exchange

Monterey Bay DART in collaboration with the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) hosted a visiting delegation from the Kern Career Technical Education Campus (CTEC) for an education and awareness raising exchange, tour and seminar. Kern CTEC Principal Brian Miller provided a presentation on the origins, process, and ongoing outcomes of the Kern High School District expansion of their leading edge career technical education program and facilities. Monterey Bay regional education and workforce training entities and employers that participated included Cabrillo College, UC Santa Cruz, CSU Monterey Bay, Monterey County Economic Development, Learning For Life Charter School, and Joby Aviation.

The Kern CTEC presentation covered the various educational and career opportunities available to students through the Kern High School CTEC program. CTEC stands for Career Technical Education Center, and it offers high school students a chance to learn technical skills and gain hands-on experience in a variety of industries, including agriculture, automotive technology, construction, and healthcare. The participants exchanged lessons learned, ideas and recommendations for a possible Monterey Bay regional workforce training facility to meet current and expanding skills demand in DART-related sectors.

Mr. Miller emphasized the importance of CTEC in preparing students for the modern workforce, stating that it provides a direct pathway to careers in high-demand fields that offer good salaries and job security. He also highlighted the partnerships between Kern High School District and local businesses, which provide students with real-world experience and opportunities for internships and job shadowing. “Sharing and learning from other regions has been an instrumental part of our expansion. Collectively we have the opportunity to do amazing things.” said Brian Miller, Kern CTEC Principal.

The presentation also touched on the role of higher education institutions in supporting CTEC programs. Representatives from Cabrillo College, UC Santa Cruz, CSU Monterey Bay, and Joby Aviation discussed their existing partnerships and the ways in which they support CTEC students, whether through dual enrollment programs, college scholarships, or job placement.

“We are pleased to support inter-regional collaborations and cross-pollination of ideas and best practices to advance future-relevant workforce training and education. The Kern CTEC is a leading edge case study in this arena, demonstrating the value of community alignment on big ideas, and setting the stage for the youth in our communities to succeed in the modern world. We will continue bringing the best ideas from around the State to share with the Monterey Bay community.” said Josh Metz, Monterey Bay DART Executive Director.

Overall, the presentation was informative and highlighted the valuable role that CTEC programs play in preparing students for successful careers. Attendees were encouraged to be inpired by the Kern CTEC example, support and advocate for CTEC programs in the Monterey Bay region and to explore opportunities for partnerships with local businesses and educational institutions. Joby Aviation hosted a tour of their prototype advanced manufacturing line at the Marina Municipal Airport.

Chris Bley Tech Titan

On behalf of Monterey Bay DART, we are beyond proud of our Board Member and Co-founder, Chris Bley, for receiving the incredible award: “Titan of Tech.”  Every year, Santa Cruz […]

2022 Monterey Bay DART Symposium Reaches New Heights

Monterey Bay Drone Automation and Robotics Technology (DART) held a symposium at the University Center of California State University’s Monterey Bay (CSUMB) campus, Nov 30 – Dec 1, 2022. Nearly 200 attendees enjoyed two days of compelling panel discussions, workshops, and networking opportunities. This year’s event was rich with collaboration, connections, and vision for a more robust and inclusive future.

Attendees heard from industry leaders, legislators, educators, and philanthropists on topics like:

  • Air taxis to logistics: what’s new in Advanced Air Mobility
  • Building an advanced aviation workforce
  • Enabling Innovation: Ecosystems, Districts & Facilities
  • Agriculture & Utilities Innovation & Economic Opportunity
  •  Innovation thru Inclusive Economic Development

“The Monterey Bay DART team is so grateful to our speakers, sponsors, and attendees,” said Joshua Metz, Executive Director and Co-founder of Monterey Bay DART. “These events are key to bringing the right people together to build the foundation for a stronger, more inclusive economy that leverages these budding technologies.”

Event videos and copies of presentations are available HERE. To sign up for the DART mailing list for occasional updates on drones, automation, and robotics technology, please click HERE.

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