This month – specifically June 23-26 – we celebrate our first anniversary at AMRoC Fab Lab. While it’s a quieter celebration than we would have anticipated earlier this year, it’s still a joyous occasion and we’re proud of what we’ve accomplished in the past year and excited about the year ahead, and grateful to all our amazing community and program partners who have helped make so much possible!
Since opening our doors to the public in June 2019, we’ve:
- Welcomed nearly 1000 guests and program participants, more than half of them children
- Helped several individuals find work and helped launch at least two products
- Hosted four FIRST youth robotics teams serving more than 50 youth
- Provided build space for six more youth robotics teams, and several other community organizations.
- Hosted two Professional Development events.
- Hosted multiple special events, scrimmages & tours including Manufacturing Day ,National Day of Civic Hacking and Hour of Code, TechHire, and others
- Provided 3D Printing and Product Development services for several groups and individuals.
- Participated in community festivals and events like CANDO Caribbean Festival and Winners Resource Day of Thanksgiving, and Synapse Summit
- Were awarded three grants, from SunTrust Foundation, the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County and the CEL, Community Enrichment Lab.
- Received a UACDC Community Impact Award.
- Took first place in the 2019 Children’s Board Social Enterprise Competition.
- Won the MegaGroup award in the Deconstruction 2020
As COVID-19 took hold, AMRoC Fab Lab pivoted to develop resources and to work in partnership with Michael Guinn, on his MRG3D Protective Personal Equipment (PPE) project, to provide front line health care workers with 3D printed face shields. Over the course of the last three months, we facilitated the donation of nearly $25,000 to MRG3D , helping with the production and distribution of over 30,000 face shields. Today we continue to produce “Badger” shields, a foam brow shield that can be used by local businesses that work with the public, as well as by law enforcement and community health and wellness groups, like Feeding Tampa Bay, for whom we supplied over 50 shields, as well as several other groups and agencies.
As community protests roiled the country over the last few weeks, following the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota, University Mall bore the brunt of some of the civil unrest, and we looked to the opportunity to broaden dialog and program development we’ve had underway since last year. Our June First Friday at the Fab Lab virtual meetup explored the importance of Diversity in STEM Education, with Pasco County Agents for Change, looking at concrete things we can all do to make sure children of color have every opportunity to experience quality science and tech education opportunities and to develop needed skills. And we were also excited to launch our Equity in Entrepreneurship program , with an amazing team of mentors representing a diverse community of minority business owners and small business development experts joining together to help early stage entrepreneurs of color have access to tools for success, including start-up funding.
We’ve turned every challenge into an opportunity to be better, and we’ve got a variety of online and hybrid (limited on-site, as well as online) programming to help us all keep doing that:
- Equity in Entrepreneurship program – Starting July 20 for ages 16+ , and specifically aimed at providing an entrepreneurship on-ramp for people of color.
- Automotive Repair Certification Test Prep course – Starting July 7, our 2nd round of classes aims to prepare students 16+ to earn their ASE-G1 certification for higher wage jobs and careers in the automotive industry
- STEM Educators Professional Development program – Running the week of June 29,and co-hosted with FIRST Americorps VISTA Marissa Schiereck, in-service credit is available for Hillsborough County educators participating in this program
- Open enrollment for K-12 youth in our in-house youth robotics programs
The year ahead is an exciting and promising one, as we look forward to growing with the new RITHM at Uptown vision at University Mall, and building new programs, resources and opportunities for all ages.
For the rest of the week, guests can reserve small group tours of AMRoC Fab Lab, up to 8 people per tour, to explore the Fab Lab, learn more about membership opportunities, resources and more. There’s also cake!