DELAVAN – Thanks to Governor Scott Walker’s 2015-17 biennial budget investment in the Fabrication Laboratories (Fab Labs) Program, Delavan-Darien School District has the ability to fund new fabrication laboratory facilities, which will bring Wisconsin students into the 21st Century’s global economy. Delavan-Darien School District was awarded $25,000 to create a Fab Lab at Phoenix Middle School and expand the Delavan-Darien High School Fab Lab.
“Guaranteeing our students have the skills necessary to compete in our rapidly-growing, technology-driven world is critical to our economy,” said Walker, an alumni of both Phoenix Middle School and Delavan-Darien High School (Class of ’86). “Fab Labs provide hands-on learning to the next generation of workers to provide our students with the skills they need to obtain good-paying jobs. This ensures everyone who wants a job in Wisconsin can find a job.”
In his 2015-17 biennial budget, Governor Walker implemented the Fab Labs Program, making $500,000 available to school districts through WEDC. In response to an overwhelming number of applications, WEDC was able to leverage the flexibility of its program funding to move an additional $101,000 to the initiative, allowing awards for 25 school districts, including Delavan-Darien School District.
WEDC’s Fab Labs Program requires matching funds from each school district and is designed to prepare students for manufacturing jobs in the future. WEDC recently announced the statewide recipients of its Fab Lab funding to support the purchase of Fab Lab equipment for instructional and educational purposes by elementary, middle, junior, or high school students.
“Over the last few years, we’ve been thrilled to see the new Fab Lab at Delavan-Darien High School grow with great support from our community,” Superintendent Robert Crist said. “I’m excited by the news that this grant will allow us to finish the DDHS Fab Lab and now fund the start of a second Fab Lab project at Phoenix Middle School. This will allow us to better prepare our sixth, seventh and eighth graders for careers related science, technology, engineering and math.”
The grant funds in the first year will equip the middle school with 3-D printers, a laser engraver, vinyl cutter and metal bender. It will also support staff training.
A portion of the grant will also allow for the installation of a plasma cutter in the DDHS Fab Lab, which is already outfitted with much of the equipment slated for Phoenix Middle School.
The grant is renewable for up to $25,000 per year for up to three years.
“Our second-year vision, if awarded another grant, is to open the DDHS Fab Lab to the community for use in partnership with our trained students,” said Cindy Yager, Delavan-Darien’s director of careers and occupations. “We may also buy additional equipment, as needed, and provide support for surrounding schools who are looking to start Fab Labs of their own.
“Our third-year vision is to create a STEM and Fab Lab curriculum that will be installed at our elementary schools.”
Fab Lab grant funding gives Wisconsin students hands-on experience, allowing them to put into practice concepts they have learned in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses.
Fab Labs have the potential to benefit individual students, school districts, and Wisconsin’s economy as a whole. For more information, visit http://www.inwisconsin.com/fablabs.
About the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) leads economic development efforts for the state by advancing Wisconsin’s business climate. WEDC nurtures business growth and job creation by providing resources, technical support and financial assistance to companies, partners and communities in Wisconsin. WEDC has four focus areas: business and industry development, economic and community development, entrepreneurship and innovation and international business development. Together with more than 600 regional and local business development partners, it represents a highly responsive and coordinated network. Visit http://www.InWisconsin.com or follow WEDC on Twitter @_InWisconsin to learn more.