Calling Sacramento Start-Ups

The “Start-up Hustle Incubator” is coming to the Sacramento region from Oct. 1 to Nov. 12, 2015.

Apply now if you have a concept for a business and want to hustle for six weeks to turn your dream into a going concern.

Hacker Lab in partnership with Sierra College in Rocklin will help teams join a community of entrepreneurs and get incredible support to accelerate their success.

Winners will receive prizes to support the business launch.

Go to and apply by the Sept. 24, 2015 deadline.

Participants will ‘hack’ their start-up by hustling to test ideas and build a business model in six weeks. Teams can have one to five members, all of whom should plan on committing 15 hours per week to the new venture during the competition. It can be any kind of business but applicants should be ready to demonstrate how their ideas benefit society.

Teams will benefit from start-up resources to guide them, including mentorship, community connections, education and a proven start-up process. The winner will pitch the start-up to investors and win legal, financial, accounting and marketing services.

The group is seeking mentors to provide advice during the six week hustle. The City of Rocklin and Golden Sierra Job Training Agency are also sponsors of the event.

To learn how you can apply, or be a sponsor and mentor, go to or email: Find out more:

Hacker Lab – It’s good for business

Sierra College has collaborated with Sacramento’s Hacker Lab to open a maker and co-working space in Rocklin, CA. The new Placer County site offers an array of tools, technology courses, start-up resources and a community of people excited about collaborating, sharing their expertise and inspiring innovation.

I had the opportunity to join the community and would recommend that you check it out. Whether working on one of the many tables or having a meeting, it makes a convenient off-site office. While I was working on a project, I could see others on their laptops, using the laser cutter and working in the electronics lab.

Hacker Lab is committed to education and introducing the joys of technology to the next generation. Hundreds of kids have participated in youth hack-a-thons. The children are so excited to be learning to program, solder and create with other tools. I watched a small boy stand in front of the 3D printer mesmerized for nearly half an hour. Hopefully these young people will be the future Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) workforce.

In the evening, you might see a group of people learning to use the industrial sewing machines or cutting out fabric on a huge table. Evidently one of the machines can sew through leather easily. Although I haven’t had a chance to try it myself, I am looking forward to taking a class and learning to use this equipment. The way Hacker Lab works, members take classes that include the safe operation of the equipment and then get a notation on their membership badge that allows them 24/7 access to a specific lab.

The Sierra College Center for Applied Competitive Technologies (CACT) secured equipment for Hacker Lab that includes 3D printers for rapid prototyping, the laser cutter and CNC router. The entrepreneurial maker community is attractive to local companies, according to Carol Pepper-Kittredge, CACT Director, Sierra College. “Businesses are making prototypes, entrepreneurs are building their businesses and community members are gaining new skills,” said Pepper-Kittredge. “Businesses can suggest meet-ups and offer to teach classes. Hacker Lab powered by Sierra College is also a great place to connect and arrange internships.” Interested employers can contact Carol Pepper-Kittredge at (916) 660-7801 or cpepper-kittredge(at)

Learn more about Hacker by going to the Sierra College page on the website:, watch for open houses and other Meet-ups, and check out upcoming events on the calendar –

Photos Step up Marketing Impact

Now more than ever before it is important to take photos to enhance your promotion efforts. As a consultant, I am frequently asked, “What are some of the low cost ways to improve a company’s marketing efforts?” Both snap shots taken from your phone and professional photographs have a role in increasing the impact of your communication efforts.

Your Twitter and Facebook posts will be more interesting if you include a photo. Approximately 65% of your viewers are visual learners so photos enhance their experience when looking at your materials. Adding an image makes your efforts a lot more eye-catching than text alone. When you are limited to a few words, the picture can also help tell your story.

For social media and blog posts, a photo taken with your phone is a fast and easy way to capture what is happening. After taking a few photos while attending an event, you can send them on-the-spot to your social media accounts. The photo not only captures attention, it may persuade people go a step further and click on a link to read more.

You should invest in hiring a professional photographer to collect visually appealing, high resolution photos that you can use as the main banners on your website and in your brochures. Quality photography is a must when images are enlarged on tradeshow displays and billboards. If you arrange to have photos taken, your images will be unique and reflect your branding.

If you don’t have the budget for a professional photographer, there are many low cost options to access stock images that you can purchase as you need them or pay a monthly fee to download images regularly for your materials. Be sure that you are getting royalty free images. Avoid the temptation to use images that you find online because you do not have permission to use them.

When you use photos in your blog posts and on your website, remember to rename the photos to better explain what the photo features rather than the number automatically supplied by your camera. You can also add alternative text or Alt Txt to your photo that is a more detailed description. This makes it easier for people with disabilities identify the image and can also help with Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Carry your camera with you or use the camera on your phone to capture interesting images that you may use in the future to boost the effectiveness of your marketing action.

STEM: Welding Adds Applied Math Lessons at Sierra College

Sierra College Math and Welding departments worked together on a National Science Foundation (NSF) IGNITE grant with the University of West Virginia at Parkersburg (UWVP) to infuse math into welding curriculum.

Sierra College Welding Department chair, Bill Wenzel worked with Katie Lucero, chair of the Sierra College Math Department, to develop the new applied academic curriculum. The math lessons tied directly to a student project and significantly improved students’ math skills. Carol Pepper-Kittredge, director, Sierra College Center for Applied Competitive Technologies (CACT) facilitated the collaboration of faculty with the University of West Virginia on this NSF grant project.

See the movie showing these technical education students integrating math into welding at Placer Herald Sierra College addresses skills gap by fusing math with welding (11-29-2012).

Learn more about Sierra College STEM projects.

College Collaboration builds STEM Pipeline

The Center for Applied Competitive Technologies (CACT) at Sierra College in Rocklin, CA, through a grant from the California Community College Chancellor’s Office, has effectively partnered with businesses and schools to open up opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) careers for local students. Marketing Action has had the opportunity to interview teachers, administrators, students and business and hear the results first hand.

  • The courses a student takes in high school and the opportunity to intern at a local business makes a difference in discovering interests and developing an education and career plan.
  • Students who gain skills that are in demand with industry and are exposed to mentors who can demonstrate the education and experience needed to pursue a career are more likely to select that career path.
  • Collaboration between schools, colleges and businesses helps students navigate through the sea of choices to find a port to which they can tie their career aspirations.

On June 14, 2012, The American Association of Community College Times published A collaborative effort forges a path for an aspiring architect. The article describes how a student benefited from Rocklin High School’s Engineering Support Technology (supported by the Sierra College CTE Community Collaborative STEM project — sierraschoolworks), the Placer County Office of Education 49er ROP architecture, construction and engineering program at Granite Bay High School, and Williams + Paddon, an architecture firm based in Roseville.

It is a pleasure to work with people committed to making a difference.

Sierra College trains Vets in CCC for Energy Jobs

Sierra College CACT announced: “Veterans who served as medics, ammunition specialists and security forces are transitioning to civilian employment as the result of a Sierra College Center for Applied Competitive Technologies (CACT) and California Conservation Corps (CCC) partnership. Nine veterans who are on the CCC crew [were] awarded Energy Technology and Lighting Systems Completion Certificates from Sierra College CACT” on January 20, 2012.

Read More:

Auburn Journal:

Marketing Action is honored to be part of the team working on this collaboration to put veterans to work in skilled jobs.

CCC Completes Training to Energize Careers

Congratulations to the California Conservation Corps (CCC ) Placer Energy Center in Auburn: The Technical Education in Energy Efficiency and Construction training developed by Sierra College CACT for the CCC was approved as pre-apprenticeship by the Northern California Laborers Union.

As part of the last week of classes, speakers from SMUD and the Laborers Union addressed participants, answered their questions and provided career advice. The presentations were inspiring.

The 128 hour Technical Education in Energy Efficiency and Construction (TE³C) training included building science basics, worker safety, weatherization measures, energy efficiency and alternative energy fundamentals. The goal was to prepare Corps members for entry-level employment in the Energy Efficiency Construction Industry. Over 50 Corps members participated in at least one of the five hands-on classes.

Education programs like this and at high schools and colleges benefit from industry support. Many Sacramento area employers generously share their expertise. How can your business help?

  • Be a speaker about your company, the industry, and what a typical day is like on the job
  • Provide career advice to students
  • Allow a student or an instructor to spend several hours or days at your business doing a “job shadow”
  • Hire a student intern
  • Take a recent graduate to your professional association meeting
  • Serve on an advisory committee to help educators understand the skills your business looks for in new hires
  • Donate equipment that classes can use to develop real world skills

Your contribution may energize a young person’s career.

Sierra College Employer & Energy Programs win Awards

Congratulations to Sierra College for the acknowledgement at the Placer County Economic Development Summit held March 17, 2010 for leadership in economic development. Both the Sierra College Energy Technology Program and Sandra Scott, director of grant development and career technical education for Sierra College, received awards.

Marketing Action, Inc. is honored to work with both the Energy Technology Program and Sandra Scott who oversees Sierra College Training and Development for employers, the Sierra STEM grant promoting careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, and the Sierra College Center for Applied Competitive Technologies (CACT).

Learn more about the awards: Sierra College Receives Awards at

OLLI at Sierra College receives endowment

The Placer Herald reported in “$1 million endowment keeps Sierra College adult classes alive” on June 19 that the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Sierra College received a $1 million endowment from the Bernard Osher Foundation. The program offers mentally stimulating courses without tests or homework for active adults. Rocklin Roseville Today also reported on the new endowment. Learn more at Marketing Action, Inc. has worked with Sierra College to promote this program for many years.

Sierra College wins Career Technical Education grant

On March 30 it was announced that “Sierra College wins $500,000 grant to attract students to technical careers.” According to the release, “In today’s economic downturn, skilled workers are fundamental to economic recovery. Sierra College received a $500,000 grant from the California Community College Chancellor’s Office that will support the region’s long-term economic viability through career technical education (CTE). From middle school to college, students must be equipped with technical skills to meet the future needs of emerging industries. The grant aligns education with business to develop relevant hands-on learning models, merge academics with technical education and fill the pipeline of future workers with those who are qualified to fill highly-paid, in-demand technical positions.

According the Sandra Scott, Director, Grant Development and Career Technical Education at Sierra College, this grant will promote science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. ‘Through partnerships with industry as well as middle and high schools, Sierra College’s STEM Community Collaborative is implementing innovative CTE models, strengthening existing programs, and attracting middle and high school students to STEM education,’ said Scott.”

Learn more at Roseville Rocklin Today and the Sacramento Business Journal. Check out Sierra College Training to learn more about Technical Education projects.