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What is a makerspace?
Makerspaces are opensource community lab in which people with shared interests, especially in computing, technology or the arts can gather to work on projects while sharing ideas, equipment, and knowledge. They typically meet a few basic characteristics.
    Community access to tools and space for artists & craft/tech enthusiast Workforce training with hands-on experience. Provides access to workshops, classes and information Allows experienced makers to run workshops/classes Collaborative creative community that supports each other in learning and working on projects
Makerspaces exist in most major cities all over the country. They serve a simple purpose, Makers have needs for tools, a community, space, and additional training/education. If a community supports these needs, creative professionals working in fields within STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) are more likely to avoid migrating to larger cities.
Cities that have no available resources for creators often see a lack of experienced workforce. The reason for this is a term coined "Brain Drain" which is the migration of intelligent/talented people from an area. Ultimately brain drain can lead to a lack of educational and developmental growth in a city. Any area with a strong creative/maker community thrives in business, technology, career development, and involves people in cultural growth. This is what a makerspace is created for! For example, A maker with access to a makerspace and its tools could create an invention, deciding to build their company within the same community. This company can grow and provide jobs to the area, benefiting the economy and its ability to grow.
Academic and Workforce Benefits
Creators of both tech and craft usually require two fundamental steps when trying to gain mastery over a skill: repetition and knowledge.
    With access to the tools and space, one can easily achieve repetition. NWLA Makerspace would provide additional hands-on experience with both Workshops/Classes and pay-it-forward training.
K-12 and Colleges
A partnership can easily be formed between a makerspace and educational organizations to either discount student's membership fees, even going as far as giving students full access for free depending on the level of support to the local makerspace. This gives the students more resources to work on projects or to grow educationally. Other benefits for the school and students would be but are not limited to:
  • Mentor-ship and programming for students at 20-30 hours per week which is negotiable depending on support for the charitable efforts of the organization
  • Assistance with maker projects that could also be class projects through guidance and use of tools not typically accessible to students or provided by colleges
  • Showcasing student projects at local events and trade shows to promote the college's programs
  • Incorporating prerequisite skills, methods, and other supplemental information needed to enroll and achieve at the college into community projects to help screen for prospective students and effectively support enrollment, graduation, and retention
  • Marketing and serving as a community advocate for the college's STEAM programs
  • Developing fundraiser items for sale through collaboration with a campus bookstore, such as maker materials accessible through the bookstore
  • Assisting instructors as needed in various disciplines within STEAM through collaboration with subject matter experts that are voting members of the organization
  • Assisting with Laboratory projects such as physics, 3D Printing, Art, Chemistry, and any other potential opportunities for collaboration
Corporate Partnerships and Sponsorship
    Training is often high overhead for a business. Our model is based on providing education, training, skills and access to skills.
    Employees can continue to learn during our hours of operation rather during company time, saving employers in terms of cost and efficiency.
Partnership Opportunities
    Charitable funding Donation of tools Donation of space Cross promotion for makerspace and the partnering organization
Artistic & Technology Benefits
A makerspace that is jointly created with both creative arts and technology innovation in mind is beneficial not only to the professional, educational, and employable growth in an area but also to the cultural growth of an area through local artists and innovators. By partnering with local artist communities and maker fairs, a makerspace can easily become an epicenter for artist and inventor needs. A makerspace could:
    Host its own events or allow its space/outside to be used for artist or maker fairs. Provide space for musicians to produce, record, and debut their music. Hold artistic competitions for visual artists. Provide a network of technology innovators and artists to collaborate with each other. Promote cultural growth in an area making it more attractive as an area to call home.
Needed Space
To establish our community's first Makerspace, there are several things needed. A low-cost space to operate, a centralized organization to manage the space and facilitate programming, advocacy and collaboration, building the maker community, tools for making, and alternative funding strategies. This can be done in many ways and there are diverse types of spaces that could potentially work, but there are several factors that should be considered:
    A commercial or industrial zone where power tools, forges, laser cutters, and welding equipment are able to be used Good internet must be accessible 1500-3000 square feet space Safe storage for materials and tools Reasonable amount of parking on property or nearby