Three regional school districts were among 22 across the state that have been awarded grants to establish or expand local fabrication laboratory facilities.
The Altoona school district received a $25,000 fab lab grant, Black River Falls school district got $23,500 and Cornell school district was awarded $20,000. Grants totaling more than $500,000 statewide were announced Tuesday by Gov. Scott Walker and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.
In a news release, Walker praised fab labs for helping to ensure that Wisconsin students have the skills and training needed to compete for jobs in the 21st century. A 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.
UW-Stout teamed up with Gateway Technical College to provide content for a fab lab resource page on the WEDC website that provides districts with information and a video on how to set up and equip a fab lab and to how to implement best practices. UW-Stout also developed a web portal, wifabcooperative.com, that allows fab lab schools to communicate with one another on issues such as curriculum development and implementation, equipment usage and training.