maker spaces

Makerspaces highlight local efforts in manufacturing response to COVID

The innovation community has been on the front lines in responding to the current pandemic, and one area that has stepped up is the community makerspace. A new report from the Urban Manufacturing Alliance (UMA) highlights several of those efforts. As UMA points out, COVID-19 brought a renewed need for manufacturing capabilities, and makerspaces stepped into new roles. UMA’s report, Makerspaces In Action: A Community-Based Response to the Pandemic, focuses on four makerspaces that are contributing to response and recovery. As noted in the brief, those highlighted just scratch the surface of how makerspaces are responding, but the brief overview gives a glimpse into the role that the innovation space can play when it connects with the local community.

A dozen makerspaces win $1 million total in pilot competition

The U.S. Small Business Administration has announced the winners of a $1 million competition designed to help makerspaces train the future workforce, focusing on addressing the job skills and placement gap faced by U.S. businesses. The 12 winners of the Makerspace Training, Collaboration and Hiring (MaTCH) Pilot Competition, will reap $1 million total in prize money across three tiers. Seed grants of up to $25,000 will be awarded to seed small workforce development programs, Proof of Principle grants of up to $100,000 will be awarded to grow programs with a proven history of training and/or workforce development, and Scale grants of up to $200,000 will be awarded for capacity building of successful existing programs with a strong history of training and/or workforce development, with graduated participants in at least two training cycles.

TechShop closing reverberates in maker space

When TechShop unexpectedly closed its 10 locations around the country on Nov. 15, announcing its intention to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, it not only surprised many who were affiliated with the maker space, but raised questions surrounding the larger maker space community. Dan Woods, CEO of TechShop, cited financial reasons for the closing. They had earlier announced the closing of the Pittsburgh shop, but had opened a new shop in Brooklyn, New York, just weeks before the sudden closure. While the future of those facilities is still undetermined, those in the maker space community say the demand for maker spaces has not diminished and they continue to evolve.

$17M California makers initiative creating community college model

The nation’s largest system of higher education with over 2 million students is trying to connect community colleges to their regional economies through a three-year, $17-million-dollar investment to establish a statewide network of maker-focused colleges. The California Community College (CCC) Maker Initiative may provide a model for community colleges to infuse making, innovation, and entrepreneurship into students’ college experiences while helping them prepare for STEM/STEAM careers with the necessary skills for 21st Century jobs.

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