The U.S. Small Business Administration recently recognized two New England makerspaces for supporting vocational education and job placement and boosting economic development in their communities.

SBA New England Regional Administrator Wendell Davis announced that makerspaces in Peterborough, N.H., and Roxbury, Mass., were winners of the Makerspace Training, Collaboration, and Hiring Pilot Competition, or MaTCH.

The competition provides funding to create or expand programs with job specific and soft-skills training within existing makerspaces.

"Makerspaces are uniquely positioned to help increase workforce development across the country," Davis said.

"These spaces are open to people focused on obtaining new skills, including current and aspiring entrepreneurs."

Makerspaces are places where people with shared interests in building, creating, computing, and technology, gather to work on projects and share ideas, equipment, and knowledge.

Connecticut has several makerspaces, including two in Hartford, MakerspaceCT and MakeHartford.

CBIA's Education & Workforce Development Partnership has sponsored the Greater Hartford Mini Maker Faire, helping introduce a new generation of students to the world of making with the hope it will pique an interest in advanced manufacturing.

The SBA New England winners are:

  • Monadnock Art X Tech in Peterborough is a "Proof of Principle" winner that received a $100,000 award. MAxT Makerspace developed a partnership with a local steel contractor, Guillou Construction in Milford, N.H., helping address the growing need for qualified welders in construction and industry. MAxT will use the award to invest in capacity building improvements and graduate more certified participants who will be trained to immediately enter the workforce.
  • The Clubhouse Network in Roxbury is a "Scale" winner that received a $100,000 award. It is a makerspace that promotes community, peer-to-peer support, and inclusion. With the award, the Clubhouse Network will expand and extend its Clubhouse-to-Career Pathways to Success program.