Four southeastern Wisconsin school districts are among the 21 statewide receiving Fab Lab grants in the second round of funding from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.
The recipients include Milwaukee Public Schools’ Bradley Tech High School, South Milwaukee, East Troy and Delavan-Darien. The two Milwaukee County recipients are receiving $25,000 while East Troy gets $24,550 and Delavan-Darien will receive $14,000.
A total of $494,809 was awarded to districts around the state.
The grants require matching money from the school districts. The funding is used to purchase equipment for high-technology workshops equipped with computer-controlled manufacturing components such as 3D printers, laser engravers, computer numerical control routers, and plasma cutters.
Gov. Scott Walker said the grants were an example of the investments being made in education and workforce development.
“Fab labs play a vital role in ensuring that today’s students have the skills they need to compete for the jobs of the 21st century by providing hands-on experience in areas such as design, engineering, and complex problem-solving,” Walker said.
WEDC received 69 applications for the current round of funding representing $1.58 million in funding requests. Applications were evaluated based on readiness and long-range planning, curriculum, business and community partnerships, financial need, and previous awards.
Thirty-four districts have now been awarded grants. The current state budget included $500,000 for the program and WEDC made an additional $500,000 available based on the number of applications for the first round.
Walker’s latest budget proposal, which state lawmakers are currently debating, includes another $1 million in funding for the program in the future.