March 13, 2014
The Obama administration is trying to promote a generation of
students who are “makers of things, not just consumers of things.” To encourage
this, the White House has announced
plans to hold its first annual Maker Faire later this year (exact date to be
According to the White House, “[b]y democratizing the tools and
skills necessary to design and make just about anything,” events such as the
Maker Faire can inspire invention and entrepreneurial activities in more people
who may then pursue careers related to science, technology, engineering, the
arts, and mathematics (STEAM).
The administration plans to launch a comprehensive effort to enable students
and entrepreneurs to access the tools, facilities, and expertise that can
assist them to be inventive and productive. This effort will feature a variety
of opportunities for individual Makers and for institutions from the corporate and
public sectors, academia, and philanthropic organizations to get involved.
- Companies might work with schools, including after-school activities,
by giving some of their employee’s time to help set up “Maker-spaces,” serve as
mentors, and help attract customers to Maker start-ups.
- Communities, either through their officials or at the grass-roots
level, might design or develop special districts where entrepreneurs are attracted
to create jobs and innovative activities.
- Universities could give credit for life experiences by incorporating
“Maker portfolios” into their admissions process. They could also have their
employees help set up “Maker-spaces” and serve as mentors on campus, in
schools, or in their local communities. They might also conduct research related
to the development of hardware and software tools.
- Foundations and philanthropists could offer matching grants to
communities that are involved in “Making,” especially efforts that ensure the
inclusion of girls and under-represented minorities.
The Maker Faire builds on ongoing initiatives, such as that of the
Defense Advanced Projects Agency, which work with the Veteran’s Administration
to help establish TechShop Pittsburgh. This is a 21st-century apprenticeship
program in manufacturing, working with and through startups that provides
access to cutting-edge tools for veterans. It is funded by the Department of
Labor, the AFL-CIO, and Carnegie Mellon University.
Creations by budding Makers, descriptions, questions, and ideas can be
emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org/. In addition,
photos and videos of creations can be posted on Twitter using the hashtag #IMadeThis.
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently announced
$30 million in funding for 15 grants of up to $2 million each for the second
round of the Training to Work—Adult Reentry program. This
program is administered by DOL’s Employment and Training Administration’s Reintegration of Ex-Offenders
program. It is designed to assist men and
women participating in state or local prison work-release programs to attain
the job skills they will need upon reentry to succeed in demand-driven
occupations. Any nonprofit organization that meets the requirements of the solicitation
may apply. DOL seeks to fund programs with strategies that employ career
pathway models drawn from the Career Pathways Initiative.
That initiative focuses on combining training and education so workers gain
industry-recognized credentials and go on to become employed in related fields.
It is based on a jointly
signed letter from the departments of Labor, Education, and Health and
Human Services that endorsed the pathways approach and encouraged state, local,
and tribal policymakers to use it to promote alignment among their public
workforce, education, and social and human services systems.
The grants will be awarded to sets of partners
to provide case management, mentoring services, educational opportunities,
training for industry-recognized credentials, workforce activities, and
follow-up services in high-poverty and high-crime areas. Communities with large
proportions of returning individuals who typically experience higher rates of
recidivism have a special focus in the program, as do applications to serve
designated Promise Zones.
Information about the program's first-round of
grantees is available by clicking here. Applications
must be received by 4 p.m., E. T. on April
publish this newsletter, only 18 days remain in the current open enrollment
period for the Health Insurance Marketplace made possible by the Affordable
Care Act. Coverage information is available at the following websites:
- For students: http://marketplace.cms.gov/getofficialresources/other-partner-resources/what-it-means-for-students.pdf
- For parents and teachers: http://marketplace.cms.gov/getofficialresources/other-partner-resources/what-it-means-for-parents-and-teachers.pdf
- For school communities: http://marketplace.cms.gov/getofficialresources/other-partner-resources/what-it-means-for-school-communities.pdf