Since its opening a year-and-a-half ago, E::SPACE Labs has been working hard to provide technical training opportunities for Central Oregonians. E::SPACE offers engineering design services for startups and established businesses, as well as training courses in electronic hardware development, product development and entrepreneurship. And they’ve recently ramped up their education efforts via a partnership with Central Oregon Community College.

The duo offered five joint courses last fall and another 10 joint courses this winter. Though many are already underway for this quarter, a few don’t begin until next month including Intro to Python, Rasberry Pi 2/3 and a Startup Product Development course. We caught up with E::Space’s co-founders Rick Silver and Dave Robson to learn more about the gaps they see in tech education here, the COCC partnership and their passion for helping entrepreneurs and inventors.

Here’s what they had to say:

What specific gaps do see in tech education here?

In today’s high-tech world there is a need for skills in a multi-disciplinary manner. Knowing only software just isn’t enough; it limits you to the retail physical hardware you might buy at Best Buy or Amazon. For example, typically electrical engineers, who are really good at designing new devices are not necessarily good at the skills of growing a business or the creative process of product development. While some maybe good at mechanical design and need practical help in electrical engineering.

We see broad areas of expertise that the high-tech entrepreneur needs to know including electrical engineering, software development (everything runs on some kind of software today), mechanical design, product development and manufacturing engineering, customer development, business development and microelectronics. Our classes are aimed to help the entrepreneur gain practical knowledge in these diverse areas, and at the practical job market needs of those who work in the development of innovative products.

A Solder School class at E::SPACE Labs.

Why did ESPACE decide to partner with COCC?

There is a major technological revolution underway that promises in the next few years to change the way we live, work and play more than the personal computer and smartphone technology has done in the last 40 years. For entrepreneurs, this is a major opportunity. We are just in the beginning of a major upward shift in the technological paradigm. Virtually every device, gadget and machine we use today will soon be connected to the Internet, which means that everything will be connected to everything. E::SPACE’s focus is help entrepreneurs take advantage of this huge business opportunity.

So we’ve partnered with COCC Community Learning to develop technical courses designed to acquaint individuals with the principles of the Internet of Things. Our courses explain, teach, and inspire high-tech enthusiasts and beginners alike. We have a wide range of courses covering both basic electronics theory and electronic project build classes. The courses are taught by experts, and contain high-quality material to help the student to understand the technology that surrounds us.

What response have you received so far?

Our technical education program has begun to take off. Last year E::SPACE connected with connected with COCC Community Learning and ran five courses in the Fall Quarter. We now have 10 courses in the Technical Training Program for the Winter Quarter 2017. We are finding companies who sponsor employees to take our classes and many of our students find the courses helpful in improving job skills. Quite a few of our students have made it a practice to take several of our classes and want us to add more subjects.

If you’re interested in expanding your technical skills set, or diving into entrepreneurship or product development, check out E::SPACE — they’ve been great addition to our a startup community.