For Immediate Release
October 26, 2023
Tennessee College of Applied Technology Knoxville Hosts Workshop to Design Inclusive Makerspace with 20+ Community Stakeholders
Knoxville, TN- October 26, 2023- The Tennessee College of Applied Technology Knoxville (TCAT Knoxville) is partnering with MakerUSA, a non-profit organization, to host a design workshop with key community stakeholders to develop a shared vision for a makerspace that will serve TCAT Knoxville students, local K-12 students, educators, and members of the broader Knoxville community. This workshop is part of a larger effort by TCAT Knoxville to understand how the technical college can increase access to inclusive maker-centered learning in collaboration with MakerUSA. The goal is to support local career pathways into maker industries and entrepreneurship.
This effort has been generously supported by Arconic Foundation, which supports communities by enhancing education through skill-building learning experiences and advancing social equity. Christy Newman, local Arconic Foundation Ambassador and Community Relations Manager for Arconic Tennessee Operations shares, “Maker-centered learning enables students to engage in STEM in a truly hands-on, personally relevant way. This approach allows students to directly apply their learning to the real world, be collaborative problem solvers and explore a wide range of careers, from manufacturing and healthcare to transportation.” A makerspace is a physical space that provides shared access to the tools, equipment, technologies, and materials for individuals to prototype their ideas, solutions and products. Makerspaces are also places where community members can go to learn new skills and collaborate on projects.
Participants for today's workshop include representatives from four area school districts, Blount Partnership, The Maker City, Able Trade and Snap-On. Workshop attendees will work together to develop tangible ideas and actionable steps to design a makerspace, develop programming and create a culture and environment that prioritizes accessibility and inclusion.
This work builds on TCAT Knoxville’s existing efforts to support maker-centered learning, including hosting Remake Learning Days Knoxville, a free learning festival for families and youth that has taken place on the campuses of TCAT Knoxville for the past 4 years. Last year, more than 1,500 K-12 students participated in this week-long event. Remake Learning Days Knoxville 2024 will take place May 10th-19th. Kelli Chaney, President of TCAT Knoxville notes, “A physical makerspace would aim to provide our students and K-12 students in Knoxville with a unique opportunity to have access to a shared space with the tools, technologies materials and infrastructure to help them develop the valuable skills and experiences needed as members and leaders of teams in professional settings or as entrepreneurs.”
This workshop will be the first in a series of opportunities for members of the Knoxville community to contribute ideas, thoughts and insights into the makerspace design process over the next three months.
About the Tennessee College of Applied Technology Knoxville
TCAT Knoxville is one of 24 Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology, governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents. The Colleges of Applied Technology are the state’s premier providers of career and technical training for Tennesseans to obtain the technical skills and professional training necessary for advancement in today’s job market. Objectives of the programs offered by the Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology include:
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MakerUSA’s mission is to accelerate social mobility and community-driven innovation by expanding pathways for underserved students into maker careers and entrepreneurship.
MakerUSA’s model is built on community agency and the process begins when prospective
Innovation Sites submit a letter of interest (LOI). Pending a financial sponsor for the Innovation Site, MakerUSA then locally recruits, embeds and continually trains and supports full-time Program Managers (PMs) on 12-18 month, renewable contracts. Meanwhile, through the Learning Network, MakerUSA engages over 30 leading institutions and organizations in shared learning, discussion and collaboration. MakerUSA currently has 49 pending Innovation Sites across 25 states.
MakerUSA is made possible through the incubation partnership of the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE). NACCE represents a dynamic community of technical and community colleges, including more than 2,500 faculty, staff, and administrators who serve four million students.