May 15, 2021

Madison Region Now Boasts Thirteen Fab Lab Awards

Governor Tony Evers and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) recently announced that 28 school districts throughout the state have been awarded a total of more than $635,000 in grants to establish or expand local fabrication laboratory (fab lab) facilities.

Five of these were located here in the Madison Region, bringing the total fab labs in the Region from nine to thirteen.

“Since its inception, the Madison Region has continued to add fab labs to our Region with each annual award,” said MadREP President & CEO Jason M. Fields. “We are committed to building the workforce pipeline necessary to regain the Madison Region’s momentum lost during the the pandemic, which requires connecting students with career opportunities before the graduate. By supporting programs like fab labs, Inspire Madison Region and Regional Career Pathways, we’re working towards our goal to ensure every student who graduates from a regional high school is college or career ready.”

The fab lab is a high-technology workshop equipped with computer-controlled manufacturing components such as 3D printers, laser engravers, computer numerical control routers and plasma cutters. Through its Fab Labs Grant Program, WEDC is supporting the purchase of fab lab equipment for instructional and educational purposes by elementary, middle school, junior high or high school students.

“The fab labs program engages students in science, math, and engineering, allowing them to create and invent all sorts of things from robots to 3D models,” Governor Tony Evers said. “The skills learned in Wisconsin’s fab labs can help prepare our kids for their future, including good-paying jobs in technology and manufacturing, which are critically important for our state’s future and our economy.”

“WEDC has invested over $3.4 million over the past six years to provide 95 school districts across the state with the equipment necessary to help students learn high-demand skills, including technology, manufacturing and engineering,” said Missy Hughes, secretary and CEO of WEDC. “Fab labs not only benefit the students themselves with important technology and career skills, but they also benefit Wisconsin employers, who will be able to find workers with the right skills to allow their companies to grow and thrive.”

The following school districts in the Madison Region were awarded Fab Labs Grants this year:

  • School District of Poynette, $9,222
  • Columbus School District, $25,000
  • Dodgeland School District, $25,000
  • School District of Belleville, $13,000
  • Wonewoc-Union Center School District, $25,000

The 28 public school districts are receiving a total of $635,089 in Fab Labs Grants from WEDC. Individual school districts were eligible for up to $25,000, and consortiums of two or more districts were eligible for up to $50,000. The program requires matching funds from each district. Other fab labs already in the Region include Beaver Dam, Beloit Turner, Edgerton, Fall River, Mount Horeb, Stoughton, Waunakee, and Waupun.