Our Partnership with The Learning Shelter: Empowering Marginalized Makers
When we think of the term “maker,” many of us imagine train sets, potato alarm clocks, soda bottle tornados, and a plethora of other 6th grade hobbies and science projects. However, in the past year, as a country we’ve come to realize that the Maker Movement isn’t just kid stuff. It is a way to drive our country past a consumer-based economy by fostering the untapped talents and potential of millions of crafters, artists, and inventors.
Over the summer, we were able to see this movement in action at the TechShop based in the cradle of innovation: San Francisco. Our tour guide and founder of The Learning Shelter, Marc Roth, placed a pair of goggles on my face with a look that told me “you’re gonna need these.” Strolling through the TechShop, I was enamored by all of the makers at work, tinkering with 3D and laser printers, wet saws, and sparking drills. This wasn’t a science fair, this was a space for skillful individuals to create. To make.
Our partner, The Learning Shelter, harnesses the spirit of this Maker Movement by empowering homeless makers through a 90-day live-in training program, where they are exposed to hands on experience with a multitude of technologies. The talented individuals in this program are not only taught everything from 3D printing to manufacturing, but are also provided with the personal and professional development tools that they need to enter the workforce. Through The Learning Shelter’s program, marginalized individuals are trained to master their skills, empowered to achieve personal sustainability, and find the meaningful work they deserve.
As we see the Maker Movement gaining massive amounts of traction all over the US, it is clear that this isn’t just kid stuff. It is a huge movement that will be instrumental in moving our workforce culture forward, and make us a major player in the new economy.
In working with The Learning Shelter, we hope to see an exponential growth in not only the Maker Movement, but in the movement of mobilizing makers of all kinds, from homeless individuals, to the formerly incarcerated, to the millions of individuals who face significant boundaries to finding empowering work.