RUCKUS Makerspace Awarded in Small Business Administration Competition
On August 20th, the US Small Business Administration announced winners for its 2019 Makerspace Training, Collaboration, and Hiring (MaTCH) Pilot Competition. Among the winners in the Proof of Principle category was RUCKUS Makerspace, a local coworking space located in one of the ten Opportunity Zone census tracts that overlap with the IndyEast Promise Zone. The Proof of Principle category awards funds for programs with a proven history of training and workforce development. RUCKUS Makerspace received a $100,000 award, the highest possible award for the category. The funding from the competition will be used to serve formerly-incarcerated members of the community, and others who face unique barriers to employment. RUCKUS has a goal of helping 25 people find higher paying jobs with nearby businesses. In order to achieve this goal, funds will be used for hard skill training, specifically in welding and using computer numerical control (CNC) machines. Knowledge of welding tools and machinery such as Esab welding equipment is in high demand and therefore training will introduce candidates to the big brands from the welding industry that aspiring welders need to be familiar with. In addition to developing these skills, participants will receive personal and career coaching. This combination of professional and social support will enable people who traditionally face barriers to starting and advancing their careers to find living-wage jobs in order to support themselves and their families. This approach also aligns with the Promise Zone’s Work IndyEast and Safe IndyEast goals by connecting unemployed or underemployed neighbors with opportunities for employment and higher wages, particularly those who have criminal records or face other challenges when seeking employment. Supporting efforts to connect Near Eastside community members with jobs and career development opportunities is vital to the continued economic growth of the community.
Pictured above: RUCKUS Makerspace logo
RUCKUS Makerspace’s MaTCH Pilot Competition award will allow them to build on their current model to serve the community in new ways. RUCKUS currently has 30 members, who enjoy several shared resources. The shared spaces and tools that are currently available include a photography studio, wood and metal shops, a direct-to-garment printer, 3D printers, a CNC router, and a plasma cutter. Members also have their own spaces where they can operate their businesses. RUCKUS Makerspace provides important resources to its members and helps promote small business and entrepreneurship on the Near Eastside.
RUCKUS currently has open spaces for new members, and offers a variety of membership types. They are particularly interested in recruiting metal, wood, or leather makers to fill some of the available space. Any interested parties should can find more information here or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. You can keep up with events hosted by RUCKUS Makerspace either on their website or their Facebook page.