GE Foundation grant will fund six innovation labs at MPS schools

A rendering of a GE Innovation Lab. (Milwaukee Public Schools)

A GE Foundation grant will support the creation of six digital fabrication labs at Milwaukee Public Schools. 

The new GE Innovation Labs are the final phase of a $20 million grant awarded by the GE Foundation to MPS in 2010. 

The labs will be installed at six MPS middle schools: Andrew Douglas, Wedgewood Park International, Audubon Technology and Communication, Hayes Bilingual, George Washington Carver Academy of Math and Science and Rufus King International Middle School. 

Each lab will be at least 1,000 square feet and equipped with a laser cutter, vinyl cutter, multiple 3D printers, CNC router, graphic design software, soldering station, multiple types of saws and sanders.

Construction on the sites will begin in a few weeks and is scheduled to be completed in time for when MPS students return to school buildings.

The total cost of the labs is being funded by the GE Foundation grant, including funds dedicated to educator training and supplies. 

“These innovation labs will assist in our commitment to accelerate student achievement and cultivate leadership among our students,” said MPS superintendent Keith Posley. “We are proud our current partnership with the GE Foundation has culminated with this resource to provide our students.”

MPS said the labs will serve as a place for students “to learn, create, play and invent utilizing problem-solving skills, teamwork and tools for authentic problems.” Local businesses also will be invited to share product challenges for students to solve. 

“These labs are not just about learning how to use new tools. They will help to develop students as adaptive problem solvers for jobs that haven’t even been created yet,” said David Barasgm, GE Foundation executive director. 

The first and second phases of the GE Foundation grant focused on professional development for K-8 teachers in math and literacy, and development of college and career readiness services in MPS high schools. 

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