A fab-ulous gift

By Melanie Boyung

May 23, 2019

GRAFTON — Grafton High School will be getting some upgrades to their fabrication lab, courtesy of Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

Grafton School District announced last week that it had received a $25,000 grant from WEDC, earmarked for improvement to the GHS fabrication laboratory. Often called fab labs, the facilities being built into schools are specialized spaces for students to learn modern fabrication skills, methods and equipment.

Grafton High School already has a fab lab. The $25,000 will go to augment that space with additional resources.

“We are thrilled to receive this funding in order to expand our current fab lab facilities,” GHS Principal Scott Mantei said. “We will be utilizing these funds to add equipment to our lab, including 3-D printers, a vinyl cutter and printer and CNC (computer numerical control) router. We are thankful to WEDC for funding this initiative and look forward to providing our students with additional opportunities to gain and enhance these skills.”

The money GHS received is part of WEDC’s state grant program. On May 13, WEDC awarded more than $500,000 to 20 school districts throughout Wisconsin to either grow or establish fab labs. According to a press release, Gov. Tony Evers declared May 13 Fab Lab Day, celebrating the grants, the programs they support and the accomplishments of districts and their fab labs.

“Over the last four years, WEDC has invested over $2.1 million to provide 58 schools across the state the type of equipment needed to help students master the skills that are in high demand in the job market, including manufacturing, technology and engineering,” said Mark R. Hogan, secretary and CEO of WEDC.

“These grants represent an important investment in education and workforce development to ensure that Wisconsin students have the skills and training they need to compete for the jobs of the 21st century,” Hogan added.

Fab labs often include such equipment as 3-D printers, laser engravers, programmable CNC machinery, plasma cutters and other tools that allow hands-on learning and practical experience with fabrication technology. According to the press release, “Fab labs have the potential to benefit individual students, school districts, the surrounding community and Wisconsin’s economy as a whole.”

For more information on fab lab programs, visit www.InWisconsin.com/fablabs.