Higher Education, Manufacturing, and Nonprofits

Makerspace partners with community college

March 24, 2015
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Geek Group
The Geek Group in Grand Rapids is a nonprofit makerspace that brings "ideas, tools and people together." Courtesy The Geek Group

A nonprofit makerspace and community college are partnering to help give students more hands-on skilled trades experience.

The Geek Group in Grand Rapids said this month that students enrolled in a workforce development program at Grand Rapids Community College will be offered a scholarship through the college, covering 50 percent of a special $150 cost for a six-month membership at the makerspace.

Scholarship

The scholarship offered by the college to students enrolled in the workforce development program covers six months of facility membership access to The Geek Group space in Grand Rapids.

Typically priced at $40 a month, the membership was discounted as part of the collaboration between The Geek Group and GRCC to $150 for a six-month period.

GRCC will provide 50 percent of the cost, while students pay the remaining $75 for access to the makerspace.

Makerspace access

Through the scholarship program, GRCC students will have unlimited access to the space’s several labs and modern machinery: a wood shop, electronics lab, rapid prototyping lab, vehicular sciences lab, computer lab, high-voltage lab and a robotics lab.

Skilled trades partners

Josh Spencer, director of development at The Geek Group, said the makerspace is a growing resource for students and other locals who are interested in developing specialized skills.

“We have been working with the workforce development program for about a year, and ultimately, they wanted to have their students have access to our services,” Spencer said. “We are glad we can be a resource for students, and GRCC sees a value in partnering with The Geek Group to train the next generation of skilled trades people.”

Moss Ingram, associate professor of computer technology at GRCC, said the partnership with The Geek Group and access to resources will further enhance students’ skills, which directly translates into tangible value to local employers who readily hire graduates.

“This is an important partnership to benefit our students by providing them unparalleled access to the same equipment, tools and machinery they use in class, yet with more time and flexibility for them to experiment, test, build and practice what they are learning in our workforce programs,” Ingram said. 

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