Austin Community College District (ACC) is creating an innovative and interactive career exploration center called the Make It Center to inspire middle and high school students and adults to consider college on the path to a future career.

The new 10,000-square-foot center will be located inside ACC’s Highland Campus and provide visitors hands-on opportunities to explore ACC’s programs and connect their interests to community workforce needs. 

“We want the Make It Center to inspire students to fulfill their hopes and dreams by connecting their passions and strengths to possible future careers,” says Dr. Guillermo ‘Willie’ Martinez, associate vice president of Student Engagement & Academic Success. “The goal is to help everyone find what they were born to do and get excited about the ways ACC can help them get there.”

The Center will require collaboration from all academic areas and departments collegewide and will seek out community and business partners to help connect students with various and meaningful career pathways that lead to well-paying jobs.

The Make It Center will have six functional areas: 

  1. A showroom to serve as an exploration center for ACC programs
  2. Simulation zones where visitors can learn about and try new technology and equipment
  3. A FabLab maker space where visitors can use equipment to experiment and build
  4. An inspiration hub where we can teach and share knowledge
  5. One-stop enrollment zones 
  6. An innovation hub, which will feature the latest industrial and workplace technologies

Janelle Green started as the Make It Center’s inaugural director in May 2021.

Planning continues through fall semester with construction expected to begin in late fall or early spring. It’s expected to open in summer 2022 and have the capacity to serve more than 50,000 current and future student visits a year.

The Center is part of the college’s partnership with the Make It Movement. ACC first collaborated with the initiative in 2019 for the Skill-Up Festival at South By Southwest (SXSW). More than 2,200 guests attended the two-day festival meant to dispel negative stigmas around skilled careers, elevate the value of a two-year education, and showcase ACC programs.