New program seeks to expand makerspaces across the state

“Makerspaces” can be many things at once: part classroom, part community center, part art studio, part workshop where hobbyists can tinker, even part business incubator and co-working space. They can also be a powerful tool for economic growth, community revitalization, creating jobs, and developing the state’s manufacturing workforce.

Now, there is a new program at TEDCO to boost both the number and the impact of makerspaces across Maryland. The Maryland Makerspace Initiative Programcreated by the Maryland General Assembly earlier this year, will provide grants to support the expansion and establishment of makerspaces by organizations and local governments across Maryland.

“This really positions Maryland at the top for supporting the development of makerspaces,” said Dorothy Jones-Davis, executive director of Nation of Makersa national nonprofit focused on providing support and advocacy for the maker ecosystem.

Maryland seems to be the first state in the country to establish such a program, which is designed to foster a community of makerspaces rather than a single facility. This can make Maryland a model for other states looking to grow their maker ecosystems, Jones-Davis said.

A particular benefit of the enabling legislation behind the new program is that it offers a definition of makerspace that should help people understand the value of such facilities, Jones-Davis said. Read more here.

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