At the rate that technology is changing the world, it can be hard to imagine what the "jobs of the future" will look like. But Sacramento Makers Academy was betting that its graduates will be able to get them.
"We're built around the idea that you learn by making things with your hands and problem solving," Sacramento Makers Academy founder Robert Calvert said. The school, which currently has 15 students, focused on computer programming, design and high-tech manufacturing, in addition to traditional subjects like English and Math. Students – ranging in age from 12 to 18 – work together to solve projects they've created.
"Just the way you're being taught in a normal school, just writing papers over and over and taking notes, it wasn't my thing. I wanted to be the guy that's going to physically make something or do something, so that's what made me want to come here and see what it was like," student Daniel Molokie said.
Molokie, who was 15, was driven by his parents 45 minutes to the school located at Sacramento's Hacker Lab. On Monday, he was working with a complicated machine that is helping him with his small business, a GoPro lens accessory he calls GoShield.
"It's a protector case for your GoPro cameras," he explained, saying it would be especially useful for filming paintball games.
Sacramento Makers Academy is not accredited, and Calvert said the private school has no intention to pursue accreditation. Tuition costs $700 monthly, though there are scholarships available. Students eventually take the California High School Proficiency Exam (CHSPE), which allows them to enroll in college.
While college is the eventual goal for many of the students, Calvert said others are prepared in a way that allows them to transition directly to the working world.
"Now we're training kids to create. So I would imagine more kids from this program are going to leave and go build businesses and go be valuable without college," Calvert said.