The Possible Project’s Makerspace aims to empower the next generation of innovators.
For youths with unique learning needs or financially disadvantaged backgrounds, the road to entrepreneurship can seem like an impossible one. The fact is, many of these students don’t have access to the education, guidance and resources necessary to realize their aspirations.
But one local nonprofit is aiming to turn that around. Founded in 2010, The Possible Project teaches students at all three public high schools in Cambridge everything they need to know to start, launch and run their own businesses.
In addition to staff support and meeting spaces, those students will now have access to an 1,800-square-foot, cutting-edge incubator facility in Kendall Square, which allows them real-world application of the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) curriculum. That makerspace is equipped with 3D printers, laser cutters, vinyl cutters and other state-of-the-art equipment, and computer-aided design software for all types of creation—including manufacturing, filmmaking, graphic arts, electronics and Web design. The Possible Project partnered with the Cambridge Housing Authority and Biogen Idec Foundation to bring the makerspace to fruition.
“About a year ago, we observed that a tremendous learning opportunity was being lost because our student entrepreneurs did not have access to the technologies and resources needed to make their own products,” said Becky Levin, executive director of The Possible Project, in a news release. “Around the same time, makerspaces were spurring a renaissance in domestic manufacturing. We immediately saw a need to bring those resources to TPP to enable our students to design and manufacture their own products in a unique, hands-on learning environment.”
According to The Possible Project, more than 80 percent of the students involved in the three-year after-school program either come from a low socio-economic status, are a recent immigrant/English language learner, or are the recipient of an Individualized Education Program. Students are chosen via a nomination process: A guidance counselor, teacher, social worker, or health professional can recommend them for the program. But students may also self-nominate and find a school staff member to support them.
Last year, The Possible Project served 150 students—and the organization expects to accept nearly 200 students in 2015.
Source: “New Biz Incubator Opens for Disadvantaged Cambridge Teens”, https://goo.gl/Uf1Te0, Bostinno, 5 Mar. 2015.