Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, together with Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes, announced that 18 school districts across the state will receive over $493,000 in “fab lab” grants to train students in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) skills.

A fab lab – which is short for fabrication laboratory – is a high-tech workshop equipped with 3D printers, laser engravers, computer numerical control (CNC) routers, and plasma cutters. According to a press release, WEDC’s Fab Labs Grant Program will support the purchase of this equipment for educational purposes for K-12 students across the state.

“Wisconsin has always been a state of makers, growers, and thinkers, and we know that the key to building upon that proud tradition is providing the skills and training our kids need to be successful in the 21st Century,” said Gov. Evers.

“We’re working to create spaces with new learning opportunities for students to thrive and excel, including fab labs, where students have the most advanced equipment for hands-on learning in some of our state’s most in-demand fields,” he added. “These grants will go a long way toward helping build the 21st-century workforce we need for a 21st-century economy.”

Since the program first launched in 2016, WEDC has awarded 211 grants totaling over $5 million to 125 school districts across Wisconsin.

This year, the first-time grant recipients include the Muskego-Norway School District – receiving a $24,700 grant to equip a new lab at Muskego High School – and the Mosinee School District – receiving a $25,000 grant for a fab lab in its elementary school.

In addition to the Muskego-Norway School and Mosinee School Districts, other grant recipients include:

  • Butternut School District – $22,000
  • Deerfield Community School District – $25,000
  • DeForest Area School District – $25,000
  • Racine Unified School District – $25,000
  • Tri County Area School District, Plainfield – $25,000
  • CESA 3 (Consortium) – Fennimore – $47,396
  • Fall River School District – $25,000
  • Hayward Community School District – $25,000
  • School District of Nekoosa – $25,000
  • New Lisbon School District – $25,000
  • Random Lake School District – $24,300
  • Croix Central School District – $25,000
  • Washington Island School District – $25,000
  • Waunakee Community School District – $25,000
  • Weyauwega-Fremont School District – $25,000
  • Whitehall School District (Consortium) – $50,000

“The earlier kids experience the joy of learning and having fun with their classmates as they explore these new technologies, the more engaged they will be as they advance in school and the more open they will be to careers in STEAM fields,” said WEDC Secretary Hughes.

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