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NWRPC News

Posted on: October 28, 2015

Fabrication Laboratories Grant Opportunity for Public School Districts

The Fabrication Laboratories (Fab Labs) Program will provide grants to districts to help them equip fab labs within public schools.

As you may know, fab labs incorporate technologies such as 3D printing and computer-assisted design to give students hands-on experience, allowing them to put into practice concepts they have learned in science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM) courses. Fab labs have a twofold benefit: giving students the skills to set them apart in the job market, and helping to ensure that our state’s labor force includes the type of skilled workers employers seek.

Among the many other benefits of these labs: they cater to students with diverse learning styles, allowing them to learn by doing, and collaboration is also a key feature—schools across the country and around the world share ideas to inspire one another, thus giving students real-life experience in the global economy prior to graduating from high school.

Grants to help public school districts create or expand these labs will be available in amounts up to $25,000 per district. The funds may be used to purchase equipment used for instructional and educational purposes by elementary, middle, junior or high school students.

Fab Labs Grants will be awarded through a competitive process, with applications evaluated based on curriculum, partnerships, financial need and evidence of long-range planning. Competitively selected applications will subsequently be ranked based upon additional financial need criteria to determine final award recipients. Applications for the first grant year are due January 22, 2016.

An application cycle will be opened on an annual basis until the lifetime program cap of $500,000 is fully disbursed. School districts are required to contribute matching funds such that the grant covers no more than 75 percent of the project cost in the first grant year. Awardees may apply for additional grant funding (subject to the same $25,000 per district maximum) in subsequent years, but at a reduced reimbursement rate (50 percent of the project cost for a second award and 25 percent for a third award to the same recipient).

Fab labs have the potential to benefit individual students, school districts and the state’s economy as a whole. Learn more, and find application details..

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