INDIANAPOLIS – The Don Wood Foundation, a private foundation dedicated to the advancement of manufacturing, entrepreneurship, and related education in Indiana, has awarded $300,000 to 16 Tech Community Corporation to address gaps in manufacturing talent pipelines.
With Don Wood Foundation funding, 16 Tech Community Corporation, the nonprofit responsible for the programmatic and physical development of the 16 Tech Innovation District, will confront key challenges facing the region’s manufacturing industry, including skills gaps in advanced technologies, and building diverse workforces important for the future of the industry and equitable economic growth. Through direct engagement, 16 Tech will collaborate with neighbors in the Riverside, Near West and Near Northwest communities as well as industry partners to understand and address the challenges that prevent participation in industry training, networking, and job opportunities.
The funded project spans three years. Through the grant period, 16 Tech will focus on:
- Engaging neighbors to inform accessible economic opportunities in manufacturing
- Building inclusive talent pipelines to manufacturing and advanced industries
- Aligning regional economic assets to support manufacturing’s inclusivity and resilience
“We are grateful for Don Wood Foundation’s support for these mission-critical efforts,” said Emily Krueger, president & CEO, 16 Tech Community Corporation. “This funding enables us to dive deep into understanding the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ behind specific challenges and solutions for our state’s manufacturing industry, by engaging neighbors to help us design relevant approaches to improving inclusive access, participation and opportunity. The solutions identified in the neighborhoods nearby the 16 Tech Innovation District have the opportunity to inform other initiatives across our state.”
16 Tech’s high-tech makerspace, Machyne, will play a key role in the three-year grant. Through hands-on programming and experimentation with new technologies, Machyne will help introduce and develop the range of skills for and opportunities in Indiana’s manufacturing industry.
This project is part of 16 Tech Community Corporation’s larger commitment to talent in the neighborhoods near 16 Tech. 16 Tech is a partner on a pilot program in life sciences with IU Health and Crispus Attucks High School and is a coalition member of the City of Indianapolis’ Build Back Better Central Indiana Initiative. 16 Tech also is lowering the barriers to entry to increase opportunities for economic mobility by offering discounted membership rates for nearby neighbors to Machyne and the incubator space located in 16 Tech’s HqO Innovation Hub.
“We strongly believe in 16 Tech Community Corporation’s vision,” said Laura Macknick, executive director, Don Wood Foundation. “Thoughtful engagement leads to powerful results. 16 Tech’s focus on engagement in the development of programming will enable the retention of diverse talent and improve economic trajectories and is an approach that can be scaled to other communities.”
Organizations similar to 16 Tech Innovation District in Northeast Indiana, are encouraged to reach out to the Don Wood Foundation with their ideas on bridging barriers to training in underserved communities that will lead to manufacturing job opportunities. Like the Don Wood Foundation, 16 Tech Community Corporation is committed to aligning opportunities between students, community, and industry, creating a better future for generations to come.
About Don Wood Foundation
The Don Wood Foundation began in 2017 to create transformative change in the region’s industrial workforce. Don Wood, the co-founder of 80/20 Inc, wanted to better the world around him by aligning opportunities between students, industry, and the community. The foundation strives to empower others by providing funding to create and provide access to innovative training and education in the areas of:
- Industrial Technology
- Machine Tool Technology
- Engineering Technology
The Foundation is committed to growing and strengthening the manufacturing sector in the Midwest region. Learn more at www.DonWoodFoundation.org, or follow the foundation on Facebook and LinkedIn.
About 16 Tech
16 Tech Innovation District is a 50-acre live-work-innovate community dedicated to world-changing innovation and economic opportunity. Located in the historic Riverside neighborhood of Indianapolis, 16 Tech brings together entrepreneurs, academics, corporations, creatives in a single place to spark the exchange of ideas that lead to innovation. The nonprofit 16 Tech Community Corporation leads the physical and programmatic development of the district and ensures benefits of economic growth, new investment and job creation extend to nearby neighborhoods as well as the city, the region, and the state. More information can be found at 16Tech.com.
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Jacqueline Cromleigh Eckhardt
Director of Communications, 16 Tech Community Corporation