Preparing students for the future workforce

MADISON, WI. May 2, 2016 – Governor Scott Walker and the Wisconsin Economic DevelopFabLabMapment Corporation (WEDC) announced the first recipients of the Wisconsin’s Fabrication Laboratories (Fab Labs) Grant Program.  This investment has the ability to fund new fabrication laboratory facilities, providing Wisconsin’s children with valuable job training and bringing them into the 21st Century’s global economy.

“Guaranteeing our students have the skills necessary to compete in our rapidly growing, technology-driven world is critical to our economy,” Governor Walker said. “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 the 2015-17 biennial budget, Governor Walker implemented the Fab Labs Grant 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 up to $25,000 for 25 school districts. A map of the school districts receiving grants can be found here.

WEDC’s Fab Labs Grant Program requires matching funds from each school district and is designed to prepare students for manufacturing jobs in the future. In addition, the awards support the purchase of Fab Lab equipment for instructional and educational purposes by elementary, middle, junior, or high school students.

WEDC received 90 applications representing over $2 million in funding requests.  All applications were competitively evaluated based on criteria that included evidence of long-range of planning, curriculum, partnerships, and financial need. The review committee consisted of experts from the Department of Public Instruction, the Wisconsin Technical College System, and UW-Stout along with two WEDC team members.

Fab Labs have the potential to benefit individual students, school districts, and Wisconsin’s economy as a whole.


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 or follow WEDC on Twitter  @_InWisconsin to learn more.