Generator launches VT MakerSchools with $365,000 Grant from US Department of Education

Source: Vermont Business Magazine

Generator, a makerspace in Burlington, Vermont, has launched the VT MakerSchools Program with a $365,000 grant from the US Department of Education as part of former Senator Patrick Leahy’s congressionally-directed spending request in the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2022. This funding allows Generator to support the build out of makerspaces in six rural Vermont secondary schools, provide makerspace professional development to Vermont educators, and establish a dedicated classroom at Generator to serve as a model learning space for both efforts.

“Vermont has a critical need to expand opportunities in STEAM education and workforce development in manufacturing, prototyping, and innovative technologies” ,said Meg Hammond, Executive Director of Generator. “This program represents a significant investment in Vermont’s future. We’re extremely thankful to the US Department of Education for supporting this critical work, and for former Senator Leahy and his office for advocating for our project in Congress,”

The VT MakerSchools program is a three-year initiative to support selected schools across the state to develop, implement, and sustain makerspace programs to meet the following goals: (1) increase access to emerging technologies and STEAM education; (2) provide professional development training for Vermont educators on makerspace tech; (3) build pathways to post-secondary opportunities for high school graduates; and (4) provide greater access for rural communities to high-paying jobs in technical fields.

The first phase of the project outfitted and established a dedicated makerspace classroom at the Generator facility, complete with laser cutters, 3D printers, a CNC router, a vinyl cutter, and a computer lab with advanced 3D design software. This space will serve as a model classroom and will support ongoing professional development for Vermont educators.

Generator launched the program this spring with six partner schools:

  • Bellows Falls Union High School
  • Harwood Union Middle High School
  • Hazen Union School
  • Main Street Middle School
  • White River Valley Middle School
  • Williston Central School

Angela Selvaggio, a teacher from Harwood Union Middle High School, said about the program: “Access to a makerspace creates opportunities to develop a student’s skills and experience, spark a personal interest, and even foster a desire to explore career pathways previously not considered. Teachers are already having conversations about how a makerspace within a school building can shift and elevate the learning experiences for our students.”

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