BRCC NSF Maker Space Program

Hey, rising high school seniors“Design It, Build It, Keep It!”

Blue Ridge Community College, in partnership with the University of Virginia, is offering high schoolers the opportunity to explore careers in Advanced Manufacturing, while also earning as many as 13 college credits. Through funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), these three courses are being offered free of charge.

Rising high school seniors may apply and females are encouraged to apply. Other high schoolers with STEM interests may apply although preference will be given for seniors. All classes will be held online and synchronously.  Students should have a strong understanding of basic math skills and be able to think critically.  Please see your high school career coach for more information. 

Three Free Classes

Information Technology Programming (ITP)

Synchronous On-Line Instruction

May 24, 2021 - August 2, 2021
Tuesdays/Thursdays from 9:00 – 11:00 am via Zoom

This three-credit course provides an introduction to design and creativity through use of computers to create art and music. The course also serves as an introduction to computational thinking – the art of developing a solution in a form that can be implemented by a computer. The goal of the course is not to prepare students to work in the field of computer science. Rather, it is to enable participants to use computers for personal enrichment through applications in the digital humanities. There are no prerequisites.

Manufacturing Specialist (MS)

Format TBD: Online or In-Person

August 2021 - February 2022
Mondays/Wednesdays from 2:00 – 4:00 pm

Students will learn the math, measurement, and spatial reasoning skills related to high performance manufacturing and production through classroom work, team projects, and activities. The Manufacturing Specialist certification can be converted to a four-credit college course (IND 165 Principles of Industrial Technology) which can be applied to BRCC’s Advanced Manufacturing AAS degrees or Career Studies Certificates.

Manufacturing Tech I (MT1)

Format TBD: Online or In-Person

February 2022 - May 2022
Mondays/Wednesdays from 2:00 – 4:00 pm

Students will continue learning the math, measurement, and spatial reasoning skills related to high performance manufacturing and production. Additionally, students will be introduced to the business acumen used in Advanced Manufacturing. The Manufacturing Technician I certification can be converted to a three-credit college course (IND 181 World Class Manufacturing) which can be applied to BRCC’s Advanced Manufacturing AAS degrees or Career Studies Certificates. Students will also have the option to gain another three credit course in mathematics (Math 111 Technical Mathematics) through BRCC’s credit by exam.

Summer 2021 Manufacturing Camps

July 12th week and August 9th week

Students may take a free 5-day summer camp to introduce them to manufacturing. Stay tuned for more details! 

manufacturing lab - "Take one!  Take all four!  Start this summer free!"

Meet Professor Jim Leech

Jim Leech

Instructor, Mr. Jim Leech is a retired senior engineer from Hershey company who brings 35 years of real life manufacturing experience to the classroom.  He worked to create and teach BRCC’s manufacturing program as well as a similar program at Wilson Workforce & Rehabilitation.  Even in retirement, Mr. Leech still enjoys sharing his profound knowledge of the industry with anyone who has an interest. 

Learn about the local manufacturing industry and career fields like:

How to Apply



To apply for any of these courses, complete the online form.

Application Form


Kevin Ratliff
Workforce & Continuing Ed
(540) 453-2264

National Science Foundation (NSF) Grant Purpose

The purpose of this NSF grant is to provide rising high school seniors the opportunity to learn about advanced manufacturing concepts and the associated career paths. Students completing the certifications may choose to interview with a local manufacturing facility if they wish to enter the workforce upon graduating from high school. Others may choose to apply the certification towards college credit and enter any one of BRCC’s four manufacturing degree programs. They may also pursue a related transfer degree and subsequently a baccalaureate degree in a field related to manufacturing - such as JMU’s Bio-Technology degree.

Note: This exploratory program in advanced manufacturing is designed to lead to the development of future skill sets, which would be useful in resume development and job interviewing

Logos:  University of Virginia, NSF, BRCC