Local school districts encouraged to apply for fab labs grants
MADISON – The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) is now accepting applications for the sixth year of its Fabrication Laboratories (Fab Labs) Grant Program, which provides funding to help public schools build or expand fab labs.
“The grant program supports hands-on science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) education by assisting public school districts with equipment purchases for instructional and educational purposes in fab labs. Fab labs are high-tech workshops with the latest equipment, including computer-controlled manufacturing components such as 3D printers, laser engravers and computer numerical control routers,” a WEDC release stated.
“WEDC’s investment in the program puts fab labs within reach for schools that might otherwise not have the financial means to install such facilities.”
WEDC will provide grants of up to $25,000 to public school districts, or up to $50,000 to consortiums of two or more districts, for the creation and/or expansion of fab labs.
For this year’s funding cycle, applicants are being asked to match 50 percent of the amount of grant funds requested. For example, if your district is requesting a grant of $25,000, the district must provide a match of at least $12,500. The funds may be used to purchase equipment used for instructional and educational purposes by elementary, middle, junior high, or high school students.
“The Fab Labs program allows students to create, build and discover new technologies and skills,” said Missy Hughes, WEDC secretary/CEO. “These labs are where the next generation of Wisconsin workers train and innovate.”
Fab Labs Grants will be awarded through a competitive process, with applicants evaluated based on the applicant’s readiness and long-range planning, curriculum, business and community partnerships, financial need and previous awards.
For more information, visit wedc.org/fablabs. Application deadline is Jan. 7.