Middlebury Makery receives $10K grant

MIDDLEBURY — Organizers of the new makers’ space in Middlebury’s Patricia A. Hannaford Career Center got a pleasant surprise last week: A $10,000 state grant that will allow the “Makery” to hire a part-time coordinator and update equipment and materials within the facility.
The Makery is a membership-based collaborative that currently offers an engineering lab/3-D printing, a building trades lab, and a costume/sewing lab. It’s now open to adult and youth members from 5 to 9 p.m. every Thursday. Plans call for Makery participants to also have access to the career center’s industrial kitchen, machine shop and welding lab, facilities that — with proper guidance — will increase the variety of products users will be able to take from blueprint to reality.
“It was a pleasant surprise,” Career Center Superintendent Dana Peterson said of the grant, received through the Agency of Commerce and Community Development’s “ThinkVermont Innovation” program. The grants support new business strategies that promote economic development, support vibrant communities, and serve as models for other enterprises to follow.
The Makery was one of 16 grant awardees who will share in $160,000 approved by last year’s Legislature. Commerce and Community Development received a total of 45 grant applications for the money. The 16 winners are based in Addison, Bennington, Chittenden, Orange, Orleans, Rutland, Washington and Windham counties.
Adding to Peterson’s surprise was the fact the Makery applied for only $1,000, money it was going to combine with proceeds from a previous, successful fund drive. Organizers now have a larger pot of money to pay for such things as:
•A paid coordinator who’ll be asked to put in around 4.5 hours per week.
•New supplies for the various Makery labs.
•Repairs and maintenance of equipment.
•Scholarships for folks who can’t afford the full monthly membership fee of $20.
More than 20 people thus far signed on as members. Peterson’s goal is to eventually ramp up Makery membership to 200. Organizers hope to expand lab offerings and Makery hours once membership hits around 48.
And speaking of membership, families will soon benefit from a special membership rate. That rate is now being devised by Makery officials.
Anyone interested in joining the Makery as its new coordinator — or as a member, or mentor — should call the Career Center at 382-1012 and ask for Len Schmidt or Dana Peterson.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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