The White House, Washington D.C. Source: Orhan Cam/Shutterstock.com
The White House, Washington D.C. Source: Orhan Cam/Shutterstock.com

The White House has announced that it will be hosting its first ever Maker Faire to celebrate the accomplishments of makers throughout the country. More details on the Maker Faire are pending and will be announced later this year.

The White House blog states, “At the 2012 White House Science Fair, Joey wowed the President by using a homemade cannon to send a marshmallow flying across the State Dining Room. Joey then handed the President a business card reading, “Don’t be bored, make something.” The saying became a rallying cry for the President’s efforts to grow a generation of students who are “makers of things, not just consumers of things.” In December, Joey became the youngest Intel intern, after he amazed Intel CEO Brian Krzanich at a Maker Faire, which is an event that allows tinkerers, entrepreneurs, and inventors like Joey to haul their creations out of the garage and into the spotlight.

“By democratizing the tools and skills necessary to design and make just about anything, Maker Faires and similar events can inspire more people to become entrepreneurs and to pursue careers in design, advanced manufacturing, and the related fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The Administration is already partnering with companies, non-profits, and communities to make the most of this emerging movement. The Defense Advanced Projects Agency, or DARPA, collaborated with the Veteran’s Administration to support the creation of a TechShop in Pittsburgh, where members can access cutting-edge tools for making, and provided memberships for thousands of veterans. With funding from the Department of Labor, the AFL-CIO and Carnegie Mellon University are partnering with TechShop Pittsburgh to create an apprenticeship program for 21st-century manufacturing and encourage startups to manufacture domestically. Similarly, with support from AmeriCorps and leading companies and foundations, the Maker Education Initiative is working with schools and youth-serving organizations to provide students with access to Making. Last summer, the group engaged more than 90,000 youth and families around the country in making activities. The White House has also honored Maker Movement leader Dale Dougherty as a Champion of Change.” (White House Blog)

The White House hopes to help students and entrepreneurs by providing tools, education, and maker spaces. These are some of the ways that we can help, according to the blog:

• Companies could support Maker-spaces in schools and after-school programs, provide their employees with time off to serve as mentors, be “anchor tenants” for maker spaces like Ford’s partnership with TechShop, or, for multi-channel retailers, provide access to consumers for innovative Maker start-ups.

• Universities could add a “Maker Portfolio” option as part of their admissions process, create more Maker spaces on campus for students and the community, and support research in advancing the development of better hardware and software tools at national, regional, and local levels, such as the equipment in MIT’s FabLabs.

• Mayors and communities could pursue initiatives like design/production districts that allow entrepreneurs to create more jobs or initiatives that expand access to Marker spaces, mentorship, and educational opportunities through their schools, libraries, museums, and community organizations.

• Foundations and philanthropists could provide matching grants to communities that are interested in embracing Making, in the spirit of Andrew Carnegie’s support for public libraries. In particular, the Administration has called for special efforts to ensure that girls and under-represented minorities are included in such STEM opportunities.

To get involved, email your thoughts, questions, or creations to maker@ostp.gov.