U.S. Small Business Administration Acting Administrator Chris Pilkerton announced that the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) was one of 12 winners of the agency’s Makerspace Training, Collaboration and Hiring (MaTCH) Pilot Competition. In total, the SBA awarded $1 million in prize money to competition winners.
“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,” said Acting SBA Administrator Chris Pilkerton. “Makerspaces are uniquely positioned to help innovate training for the workforces of today and tomorrow, and spur economic development across the country.”
According to SBA Regional Administrator Steve Bulger, who oversees the agency’s operations across the Atlantic Region, which encompasses New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, NJIT was awarded $125,000 under the category of Scale.
Located in Newark, the NJIT Makerspace is a rapid prototyping and collaboration facility where engineers, technologists, architects, designers, and scientists can create and test ideas, put theory into practice, and turn ideas into reality. “As a winner of SBA’s MaTCH Pilot Competition, NJIT will provide a program designed to offer the needed foundation for individuals to secure an entry level advanced manufacturing job, and the option to pursue further training in an Apprenticeship Program or a college education in Advanced Manufacturing,” said Bulger.
“It’s exciting that the NJIT was awarded $125,000 in MaTCH competition awards that will empower a stronger connection between the maker’s community and job creation in New Jersey. This SBA investment provides an added economic boost to local communities, reaffirming President Trump’s commitment to supporting new forms of vocational education, developing apprenticeships, independent work, and cultivating access to entrepreneurship,” added Bulger.
He also noted that the Atlantic Region had two additional MaTCH winners in Buffalo, NY and Gurabo, Puerto Rico; giving the region at least one winner from its coverage area, the only region of the country to do so, with a total of $250,000 in prize money.
The SBA’s MaTCH Pilot Competition awarded grants according to the following tiers:
A full list of winners around the nation can be found here. The other Atlantic Region Winners include:
The Fab Lab Puerto Rico (Gurabo, PR) – Awarded $25,000
The Fab Lab Puerto Rico located in Escuela Internacional de Diseño y Arquitectura of Universidad Ana G. Méndez, Recinto de Gurabo (Gurabo Campus), and in a designated Opportunity Zone. The Fab Lab Puerto Rico will use their award from SBA’s MaTCH competition to support a Digital Production Technician Certification through the Continuing Education Program to address the job skills and placement gap in Puerto Rico’s local businesses. The Fab Lab Puerto Rico will also offer services to the private and public sectors such as non-profits, entrepreneurs, and the local community, including among other, the vocational and STEAM educational sector, non-profits, local artists, entrepreneurs, and inventors.
Proof of Principle Winners:
Net Positive, The Foundry (Buffalo, NY) – Awarded $100,000
Located in an Opportunity Zone on Buffalo’s East Side, The Foundry operates four distinct Makerspaces: a 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 their 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.
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