Monterey Bay DART Signs MOU with ChicoStart to Increase Innovation Pipelines for the North State

For Immediate Release
March 28, 2023

Marina, CA: The Monterey Bay Drone, Automation and Robotics Technology (DART) initiative is pleased to expand its partner network working with Chicostart to bring another valuable resource to the North State for entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses interested in drone, automation and robotics technology. This important partnership allows leveraging of resources, expertise and efforts to provide opportunities for:

  1. Identifying and supporting the “best value” drone, automation and robotics technology solutions to meet the current and future market demands and stimulate entrepreneurship; and
  2. Collaborating on programming, outreach and engagement with university and private sector innovators to increase innovation pipelines. This partnership fits within Chicostart’s Inclusive Innovation Hub2, supporting sectors in wildfire, Agtech, cleantech, water, robotics, advanced manufacturing, national security and wildfire/forest management in rural counties that include underserved communities. Chicostart and DART believe this collaboration will contribute to the curation and resilience of the California Statewide entrepreneurial ecosystem.

“The economic implications of commercial drone use are undeniable. The market for drones is estimated to be $127 billion across a variety of industries. On a macroeconomic scale, the integration of UAVs could create more than 100,000 jobs in California alone. Job creation from commercial drone use will consist primarily of manufacturing jobs and drone operators. The implications clearly have a positive impact on businesses and consumers. Our relationship with DART will introduce new industry and support pilot programs. We are excited to bring this to the North State.Eva Shepherd-Nicoll, Executive Director of Chicostart

“MBDART is thrilled to expand its partnership beyond the Central Coast to support DART-related innovation and entrepreneurship throughout the Golden State. Our industry, academia, public agency and philanthropy partners recognize the potential of these emerging technologies to help solve major challenges such as agricultural efficiency, wildfire risk reduction and management, infrastructure safety and security and many others. We look forward to working with the ChicoStart community to bring value to the North State.Josh Metz, Executive Director of Monterey Bay DART

In April 2022, Chicostart was 1 of 10 designees awarded the statewide iHUB2 grant from CalOSBA. Chicostart’s iHUB2 designation covers over 20+ counties in Northern California, focusing on building the regional entrepreneurial ecosystem for equitable access to entrepreneurial resources with inclusive ecosystem expansion into our rural and diverse communities. This includes expanding Chicostart’s growTECH and entrepreneurial initiative throughout the region.

About Chicostart: Chicostart supports and enriches Northern California’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem by providing small business, entrepreneurs and startups the resources they need to succeed. Our platform includes shared office amenities, mentoring, workshops, internships, tech talks, student to business projects, entrepreneurial events, satellite office programs, and anything else that helps our core mission of helping startups succeed. As a GO-BIZ iHub for the Far North, the Chicostart ecosystem includes but is not limited to investors, technologists, entrepreneurs, students, educators, local businesses, agencies and mentors.

About MBDART: The Monterey Bay Drone, Automation and Robotics Technology (DART) initiative is a 501 c3 public benefit corporation working with industry, academia, public agencies and philanthropy to deliver innovative, future-relevant, workforce and economic development solutions. DART leads public-private partnership apprenticeship programs with emerging technology manufacturers, completes technical and market studies to raise awareness about ecosystem and technology potential, and offers events throughout the year to bring together interested stakeholders for networking, collaboration, and strengthening the DART ecosystem. More information available online at


Monterey Bay DART Workforce Training Center Feasibility Study

PRESS RELEASE For Immediate Release 3/22/23 

Monterey Bay DART Partners with the Hatamiya Group to Study Feasibility of Regional Workforce Training Center for Future Jobs in Advanced Manufacturing, Drones, Automation, and Robotics Technology 

Marina, CA – Monterey Bay DART is pleased to announce that it has contracted with the Hatamiya Group to complete a regional workforce training center feasibility study. The study will assess the need and demand for a regional workforce training center focused on preparing the local workforce for the jobs of the future in advanced manufacturing, drones, automation, and robotics technology. The continued growth of Joby Aviation’s advanced manufacturing operations at the Marina Airport, along with the presence of a growing cluster of advanced air mobility, agtech, and national security oriented firms throughout the Central Coast are driving increased interest in career technical education, and demand for workers with future-relevant skills including carbon fiber manufacturing, electric drive train assembly and maintenance, robot operations and maintenance, and skills generally grouped under the mechatronics heading.

The Monterey Bay DART Initiative is committed to promoting good fit, future-relevant economic and workforce development in the Monterey Bay region. As part of this mission, it recognizes the need to invest in the local workforce and prepare them for the jobs of the future. The feasibility study will take into account existing facilities, programs, structures, site options, and other factors to assess the need and demand for a new regional workforce training center that will provide the necessary training for individuals seeking employment in the advanced manufacturing, drones, automation, and robotics technology fields.

“We are excited to partner with the Hatamiya Group on this important study,” said Josh Metz, Executive Director of Monterey Bay DART. “The development of a regional workforce training center focused on advanced manufacturing, drones, automation, and robotics technology will help create new opportunities for our local workforce, and support economic growth and development in our region.”

The study will include an analysis of labor market trends, employer demand, and workforce training needs in the Monterey Bay region. It will also identify potential funding sources and partnership opportunities to support the development and operation of the workforce training center. The study process will include data gathering through surveys and direct interviews with employers, educators, public agencies, elected leaders, and community organizations.

“We are honored to have been selected by Monterey Bay DART to complete this study,” said Lon Hatamiya, President and CEO of the Hatamiya Group. “We look forward to working with the Monterey Bay DART team to assess the need and feasibility of a regional workforce training center, and identify opportunities to support the growth and development of the local workforce.”

The feasibility study is expected to be completed in the fall of 2023. The findings and recommendations of the study will be presented to the Monterey Bay DART Board of Directors and made available to the public.

For more information, please contact the Monterey Bay DART office at ‪(831) 264-8299.

About Monterey Bay DART: The Monterey Bay Drone Automation and Robotics Technology (DART) initiative is a non-profit public benefit corporation dedicated to promoting innovation, future-relevant, workforce, and economic development solutions. The team includes representatives from local government, business, education, and community organizations. 

About the Hatamiya Group: The Hatamiya Group is a consulting firm specializing in economic development, workforce development, and strategic planning. The firm has over 30 years of experience working with public and private sector clients in California and throughout the United States.  

Monterey Bay hosts Kern CTEC workforce training center exchange

Monterey Bay DART in collaboration with the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) hosted a visiting delegation from the Kern Career Technical Education Campus (CTEC) for an education and awareness raising exchange, tour and seminar. Kern CTEC Principal Brian Miller provided a presentation on the origins, process, and ongoing outcomes of the Kern High School District expansion of their leading edge career technical education program and facilities. Monterey Bay regional education and workforce training entities and employers that participated included Cabrillo College, UC Santa Cruz, CSU Monterey Bay, Monterey County Economic Development, Learning For Life Charter School, and Joby Aviation.

The Kern CTEC presentation covered the various educational and career opportunities available to students through the Kern High School CTEC program. CTEC stands for Career Technical Education Center, and it offers high school students a chance to learn technical skills and gain hands-on experience in a variety of industries, including agriculture, automotive technology, construction, and healthcare. The participants exchanged lessons learned, ideas and recommendations for a possible Monterey Bay regional workforce training facility to meet current and expanding skills demand in DART-related sectors.

Mr. Miller emphasized the importance of CTEC in preparing students for the modern workforce, stating that it provides a direct pathway to careers in high-demand fields that offer good salaries and job security. He also highlighted the partnerships between Kern High School District and local businesses, which provide students with real-world experience and opportunities for internships and job shadowing. “Sharing and learning from other regions has been an instrumental part of our expansion. Collectively we have the opportunity to do amazing things.” said Brian Miller, Kern CTEC Principal.

The presentation also touched on the role of higher education institutions in supporting CTEC programs. Representatives from Cabrillo College, UC Santa Cruz, CSU Monterey Bay, and Joby Aviation discussed their existing partnerships and the ways in which they support CTEC students, whether through dual enrollment programs, college scholarships, or job placement.

“We are pleased to support inter-regional collaborations and cross-pollination of ideas and best practices to advance future-relevant workforce training and education. The Kern CTEC is a leading edge case study in this arena, demonstrating the value of community alignment on big ideas, and setting the stage for the youth in our communities to succeed in the modern world. We will continue bringing the best ideas from around the State to share with the Monterey Bay community.” said Josh Metz, Monterey Bay DART Executive Director.

Overall, the presentation was informative and highlighted the valuable role that CTEC programs play in preparing students for successful careers. Attendees were encouraged to be inpired by the Kern CTEC example, support and advocate for CTEC programs in the Monterey Bay region and to explore opportunities for partnerships with local businesses and educational institutions. Joby Aviation hosted a tour of their prototype advanced manufacturing line at the Marina Municipal Airport.