National makerspace training, collaboration and hiring (MaTCH) competition ‘Proof of Principle’ winner
U.S. Small Business Administration Acting Administrator Chris Pilkerton visited Buffalo this week to pay a personal visit to The Foundry, the Northampton Street makerspace where education, empowerment and employment of Erie County community members go hand-in-hand with business incubation. Pilkerton was accompanied with SBA Regional Administrator Steve Bulger and Buffalo District Office Director Franklin J. Sciortino during his visit.
“It is my privilege to announce the winners of the SBA’s MaTCH pilot competition. The competition is a testament to the SBA’s commitment to identifying employment opportunities and supporting small business’ workforce recruitment and retention,” Pilkerton said. “Makerspaces are uniquely positioned to help innovate training for the workforces of today and tomorrow, and spur economic development across the country.”
Located in an Opportunity Zone on Buffalo’s East Side, The Foundry operates four distinct makerspaces: MetalShop, TechLab, TextileLab and WoodShop. The mission of The Foundry is to increase neighborhood prosperity by empowering individuals through education and entrepreneurship.
Net Positive will use the award from SBA’s MaTCH competition to augment its program to create more options and opportunities for immediate employment participants, branching from the trades to higher paying options in industry by developing comfort with and expertise in making and crafting using computers and hands; minds and machines.
“It’s exciting that the Atlantic Region was awarded $250,000 in MaTCH competition awards – the most in the nation,” said Bulger, who oversees the agency’s operations across the Atlantic Region of New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. “These funds will empower a stronger connection between the maker’s community and job creation. This large SBA investment in Buffalo also gives an added economic boost to local communities; it reaffirms President Trump’s commitment to supporting new forms of vocational education, apprenticeship development, independent work and cultivating access to entrepreneurship.”
Pilkerton and Bulger also noted the Atlantic Region had two other MaTCH winners, including the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark (awarded $125,000 in the Scale category) and The Fab Lab Puerto Rico ($25,000, Seed category) in Gurabo, Puerto Rico. This first national competition provided $1 million of awards nationwide.
“Makerspaces provide valuable resources to aspiring youth: a physical infrastructure to learn hands-on skills, job training, education, mentoring and introduction to employment – all critical elements to ensuring employers find skilled, trained workers,” Sciortino said. “We believe that the awarded funds can have a significant impact between the maker’s community and job creation in Western New York.”
A full list of winners around the nation can be found here.