Thai Nguyen working on a water management system adapter during her internship with Saya Water for the Advanced Prototyping Center Fellowship Program
The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) recently celebrated its first graduating class from its Advanced Prototyping Center (APC), a fellowship program designed to provide individuals from underrepresented communities training and opportunities to join the cleantech workforce.

“The things I learned here, I cannot find anywhere,” said participant Thai Nguyen who interned at Saya Water, where she assisted in developing an adapter for a water management system. “This is my first internship. I cannot forget this my whole life.”

The 12-week program includes a rigorous two-week bootcamp, along with a three-month internship at a cleantech company. Participants received technical training in Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) and Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Design, along with training in interpersonal skills such as problem-solving, teamwork and communication.

To qualify, participants were required to be Los Angeles County residents, provide proof of low-to-moderate income status and be part of an underrepresented group, including women and people of color. The 15 participants ranged from recent high school and college graduates to former business owners, with varying degrees of experience in tech, CAD software, machining and electronics.

Participant Aristotle Washington said the APC program gave him valuable workforce training and opportunities for underrepresented community members to contribute different perspectives to the cleantech sector.

“It draws in new blood, new ideas,” Aristotle said. “Sometimes people from lower incomes, they have ideas they want to contribute.”

EWDD has provided ongoing financial support and funding to LACI’s incubator and accelerator programs since 2012.

Inaugural Graduating Class of the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) Advanced Prototyping Center Fellowship Program
The Inaugural Graduating Class of the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) Advanced Prototyping Center Fellowship Program

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This story is part of the EWDD UPDATES from the week of October 21, 2019. Read this issue and more.