PilotCity Launches 2018 Industry Incubator
On July 2, PilotCity kicked off its Industry Incubator for the Summer of 2018. PilotCity is a forward-thinking San Leandro business, focused on working with youth to provide hands-on training and job experience, and promote an innovation ecosystem in San Leandro and beyond.
The Industry Incubator is a regional internship & fellowship program with 32 students across eight Alameda County school districts working for seven employers predominantly in the high-tech industry. The businesses are in a variety of fields, including autonomous drone solutions, virtual reality app publishing, Internet of Things (IoT) pilot projects, and tele-presence robot pilot projects. The interns work with employers to develop projects that support the advancement of the organization, and fellows work on piloting projects that they created in the classroom prior to being accepted into this incubator program.
This Industry Incubator program is the next step after PilotCity’s Workforce Incubator. The Workforce Incubator is a 6-8 week project-based learning experience delivered in the classroom where students work to solve employer-based project challenges.
During the past two semesters, 1,000 students across nine school districts and 20 school sites participated in the program. These students were trained and managed by their teachers, who in turn received professional development at the employer’s workplace during a Teacher Externship Day. Employers then visited their host classroom three times during Hack Day, Review Day, and Demo Day to advise the students on their project. This spring, PilotCity’s Workforce Incubator was awarded an East Bay Innovation Award in the category of education. See a video about the program here.
The student solutions that emerged from the Workforce Incubator ultimately became portfolio projects utilized to apply for the Industry Incubator program. From a pool of 120 applicants, 32 were accepted into the Industry Incubator program. These students are currently taking the prototypes developed in the classroom into further development, piloting their projects with clients or shifting them towards employer-driven projects and tasks.
PilotCity plans to double the scale of the program in the next school year, and to focus on specific cities, such as the home city of San Leandro, as well as Hayward, Fremont, Oakland, and Alameda, in efforts to build a more robust cross-sector innovation ecosystem. With these cross-sector incubators such as the Workforce Incubator, Industry Incubator, and the emerging Smart City Incubator, PilotCity plans to create an engine for innovation for small-to-medium sized cities, utilizing the people who understand it best — their residents.