Vocademy | Skills Discovery and Training Center

America used to have “shop” classes. These were places for makers, inventors, and dreamers. They were a place for those who wanted to use their hands, in addition to their minds. It was the place where kids found that they love to tinker, to take things apart, and put them together. Shop classes were the starting place for the many people who loved to design, to build, and to create! Some were lucky enough to have a dad or an uncle who had a small workshop and were willing to share their know-how. But now these places are very rare, if not completely gone. For many, a personal workshop is just an expensive dream.

Over the past two decades I have witnessed the demise of hands-on skills teaching in this country. Schools have done away with these critical classes that taught practical life skills like: woodworking, home economics, and metal shop. These were the classes where people learned how to use tools and technology and develop the mindsets necessary to create new and amazing things. Many agree that once this country loses its ability to make and build things, we will have lost what made America great. Edison, Franklin, the Wright Brothers, Harley Davidson, Apple, HP and many others started in small workshops with basic tools. Many more Americans should have the same opportunity to innovate, collaborate, learn, and create their dreams. NOT just access to these tools, but proper and practical instruction on how to use them correctly and safely!

Companies used to have apprenticeship programs or once offered to take people in and train them. But most of these programs have gone away due to budget constraints or changing technology. Most companies do not have the time or resources to dedicate to training people in fundamental hands-on skills. So there is a vast divide between the companies that need skilled people and opportunities for people to obtain those skills. Especially today, where manufacturing is not just hammers and screwdrivers. It’s advanced textiles, robotics, automation, composites and other high-tech hands-on skills. The Skills Gap problem exists, but with very few solutions. We are that solution.


Vocademy is an idea that I have had for many years. A place that teaches real “hands-on” skills. Not just traditional shop skills, but a place that also teaches the most state-of-the-art manufacturing techniques. We serve educational institutions and companies weekdays, and become a makerspace nights and weekends that is open to everyone, ages 14 and older, 7-days a week. With all the amazing tools you would want in your own dream garage, workshop, or inventor’s lab. Then make it accessible to all those in the community (individuals, schools, and companies) who want to learn, build, create, and become makers. We have brought back the learning of real hands-on skills, and made it available to everyone.

The formula is simple. Come learn the subjects you want, when you want, and learn as much as you want. From beginner to expert, you decide how far to take your skills. Then take that knowledge with you in your life, hobby, or career. What truly separates Vocademy is that you can become a member and practice your skills in our facility! You can have access to all the tools you have learned to use, for a small monthly fee. It’s not just the tools or the building, it’s an incredibly collaborative and creative environment. It’s where life-long friendships are made, it’s where people come together and create amazing things. Vocademy is a tribe of makers, innovators, industrial artists, and you can be a part of it all.

We’re working with school districts to help inspire and teach kids. We’re working with private companies to train their workforce. We’re working with non-profits to help those who need these skills, such as: veterans, foster kids and others who are undeserved in our community. We now also help others start their own makerspaces!   Please connect with us and let’s “make” the future together.

Gene Sherman


Riverside, California

  • 15,000+ Square foot, climate controlled facility.
  • Office type environment (not industrial or warehouse)
  • Located near the 60/215/91 interchange in Riverside.
  • Traditional and State-of-the-art industrial arts tools.
  • About a mile from UCR, downtown and restaurants.
  • Free tours on the hour: between noon and 8:00pm, daily.

Collaboration Area

Large Worktables, Hands & Power Tools, Storage Containers, Extra Parts Member Lockers, DIY Library.

Electronics Lab

Electronics benches with all equipment. Oscilloscopes, DMMs, Power Supplies, Soldering Stations.

Fabrication Area

Stomp Shears, Hydraulic Press, Bandsaw, Grinders, Tube Bender, Sheetmetal Brakes, Tube Notchers & more…

Garage Area

Motorcycle lift, Bead Blaster, Workbenches, Panel Saw, and some really cool graffiti on all the walls!

Textiles Area

Sewing machines, Sergers, work tables, Ironing Boards and much more.

3D Printing Area

Six V-Pro 3D Printers, MarkForged  Carbon Fiber 3D Printer, large member-made 3D Printer.

Machine Shop Area

Manual Knee Mill, Manual Tool Room Late, ProtoTRAK CNC Mill, ProtoTRAK CNC Lathe.

Plastics & Composites Area

24″ x 36″ Industrial Vacuformer. Hot wire knife and 4′ x 8′ CNC wood/plastics router coming soon.

CAD & Classrooms

Capacity for 40 guests / students. Ten CAD/CAM Stations, Projectors, & more.

Welding Area

Six welding stations, six Miller MIG Welders, Plasma Cutter, Bandsaw, Chop Saws. TIG & O/A Welders are coming soon!

Woodshop Area

Sawstop Table Saw, Six Wood Lathes, Panel Saws, Band Saws, Industrial Planer, Routers, & more.


  • Branding. We are much more accessible to schools, companies and the community.
  • Showroom. We are a living showroom and a demo center for your equipment.
  • Creating Users. We create new well trained users and fans of your brand of product.
  • Exposure. Over 3,000 people visited Vocademy last few years and we are growing.
  • Promotion. We have our partner’s promotional materials in our facility, our web marketing, and at events.
  • Training. We provide training on your brand of equipment, products and/or materials.
  • Curriculum. Our classes are written around the products used in our facility. Creating life long users.
  • Marketing. We continue to have local and national press and Internet exposure on a regular basis.
  • Market Share. We clearly help expand market share in industry, education, and the local community.
  • Growth. You grow with us to dozens of locations and into smaller “Powered By Vocademy” spaces.
  • Connections. We are connected to school districts, manufacturing industry, colleges and universities.



Bourns Inc Electronics Stations & Components
Weller Tools
Southwestern Industries, Inc



Full Spectrum Laser
Table Top Inventing
Hoku Props



ToyBuilder Labs 3D Printers & Filament
AutoDesk: 360 CAD Software
Industrial Metal Supply
Miller Welding Machines
Sawstop: Professional Table Saw


Vocademy is the world’s first education-focused makerspace. A membership-based, access for all, hands-on skills learning facility. Where anyone can use the available tools and equipment to learn, make, design and/or build anything they desire.  It’s like an Olympic training center, but instead of exercise equipment and weights, Vocademy has skills classes, tools, equipment, and instructors. Unlike other makerspace models, Vocademy doesn’t just provide access to tools, we offer in-depth classes and knowledge to take our clients from beginner through to advanced skill levels. These classes are available to educational and corporate partners, as well as to everyone in a community. This allows the large and growing population of “makers” to learn, prototype and develop any ideas they can imagine. We are also a viable solution to the country’s skilled workforce shortage by providing practical, industry-based training, without the bureaucracy and limitations of conventional schools. We also provide much needed hands-on education to students of all ages. To inspire them to become the next generation of makers and entrepreneurs. We are one complete solution to many existing problems, and we have the right formula.
“Not the narrow focus of one specialty, but a breadth of fundamental skills and knowledge” #FutureProof
A successful business either solves a problem (the lack of hands-on skills learning) or addresses a critical need (skilled people needed for our Advanced Manufacturing, engineering, and other “maker”  careers). Vocademy solves both problems and offers additional benefits to a community. We give people the critical hands-on skills they need and provide a place for those who have a passion for creating and making things.  The failure of the educational system over the last 20 years has left a large segment of our society without these critical personal and professional skills.  Vocademy can feed that need for hundreds of thousands of people that want to become makers.  It is in our DNA to create and it is vital to the future of our country. We are a tremendous asset for schools, for businesses, for organizations, and for many in the community!
In June of 2014, President Obama stressed the need for our country to focus on these “maker” skills and called on industry, schools and government organizations to support maker-spaces. We can take advantage of the booming “Maker Movement” and become a profitable, long-term business with tremendous potential for growth.
It’s not just the building or the machines. What makes us special is the all-inclusive culture we have created at Vocademy. It’s our maker pride, our desire to help others, and our goal to share skills with others. Our membership is 40% women, our classes are for all ages and our clients as diverse as the world. In addition, our environment is welcoming, safe and inspirational. We are a brand and a destination. We are that place where you find employees, students and members that love what they are doing. We are the hub of innovation in a community. We are the Friday night sports bar for nerds, tinkerers, & makers. We are the place where anyone can go and become a part of the maker movement. We are the place where peoples lives can change.
Our mission is ”To make people more valuable to the world!” #SkilledMakers
Our plans are to expand to many full size Vocademy locations throughout the country and help others create makerspaces of their own.  Vocademy is currently looking at several areas for location number two and beyond:
  • Orange County
  • Lancaster/Palmdale
  • Burbank/Pasadena
  • San Diego (several locations)
  • West Los Angeles / Long beach
  • West San Fernando Valley

We consider locations based on strategic areas to draw from schools, universities, industry, and large local populations. The number one criteria for any future location is former retail space with plenty of parking, safety, and proximity to other amenities.  Vocademy is a tremendous benefit to the schools, business, organizations, economic development, and many others in a community. We are a scale-able company with tremendous potential for growth and profitability.

We create a makerspace eco-system by helping others create “Powered By Vocademy” makerspaces of their own. You can find more information here: https://www.vocademy.com/makerspaces/

We welcome conversations with those that want to bring Vocademy to their community.  We are actively looking for industry and educational partners. We have the ability to replicate our business model everywhere. Each location will be run as an engineered (turn-key) system, based on our Vocademy Operations. Every aspect of the business is planned, orchestrated, and designed for sustainability, profitability and growth. Business plan and financial information available for qualified individuals or entities. If you are interested in learning more, please contact: Gene@vocademy.com





We are a lean, socially conscious company with very philanthropic goals & ideals!
  • Industry partners – Large companies that can benefit from the people Vocademy creates.
  • Corporate partners – Companies that believe in our mission and want to get involved.
  • Educational partners – Schools and universities that we can help make better students.
  • City / County partners – To create a strong relationship with Economic Development.
  • Investors & Sponsors – They key component to help Vocademy expand nationwide.



Vocademy is the world’s first education-focused makerspace. A membership-based, access for all, hands-on skills learning facility. we’re looking for hard working and motivated individuals to join our team. We are committed to providing a work environment free from discrimination and harassment. It is our policy to comply with all applicable federal, state, and local laws prohibiting employment discrimination. We are a drug and alcohol free workplace.


© Copyright 2016 - Vocademy: The Makerspace

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