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The Port City maker space in Portsmouth, N.H.

As our global economy continues to sputter, the practice of making is a driver of job creation and economic recovery.

Job creation can happen in at least two ways.

First, the mayor of Bridgeport, Conn. recently reported that there are companies looking to hire qualified individuals with technical skills, but the companies can’t find them.  While there are often skill shortages, one of the biggest challenges of employers with jobs and employees with skills is connecting to each other.

Maker spaces can help bridge that gap.

Through local maker spaces it is easy for people with skills to develop and demonstrate their skills while companies can see the types of skills in the spaces.

With recruiting companies easily charging 25 percent of the annual salary of a qualified candidate, plus any relocation or other hiring expenses, if even a few candidates are sourced through local spaces, it is easy to see how an employer investing in local spaces can not only help companies find the people they need, find talent to help the companies grow, and build even more jobs, but also support the local community.

Companies can also publish specific “challenges” to solve a problem with a prize going to the winner.  Often the winner of the challenge benefits from either employment or a contract with the company that sponsored the challenge.  At the same time, the employer has reduced its cost and risk by having resources work on a problem that it might not otherwise pursue.

Second, as people create, new companies emerge.  Companies such as MakerBot Industries emerged from the creation of a new industry of 3D printers.  Artisans are finding new ways to create products that they can sell individually or on sites such as Etsy.com.

Both product and service companies are emerging as a direct result of maker opportunities.

Even inventors are finding they can create new products using the tools of the new maker economy.  One local inventor is using a 3D printer that was donated to the local library to prototype a product he is creating.  This ability to rapidly prototype products was not practical even a couple of years ago and now one of the key tools and costs he would have had to bear is now free at the library.

Both political parties agree that the bulk of job creation will be coming from the small businesses, not large ones.  Fostering innovation and creativity like that happening in maker spaces leads to business growth, job creation, tax revenue, and sorely help for our economy.

Mark Mathias

Mark Mathias is a career technologist, with 30+ years in information technology at large and small companies in the United States and abroad. He is the founder of the Westport (Connecticut) Mini Maker Faire, a member of the Westport Public Schools Board of Education and the father of two school-age children. He lives with his wife in Westport, Connecticut.


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Comments

  1. Travis Good says:

    Nova Labs in Reston, VA has benefitted greatly from corporate interest and the company has as well. Both our 100 watt Hurricane Laser and our MakerBot Thing-o-Matic were provided by our sponsor. In return they’ve established close contact with us which has resulted in them interviewing four members. So far one has has been hired. As compared to their normal recruiting costs, the company received a great bargain. Oh, and of course we love our new toys!

    Why did they invest in our makerspace? Self interest. Makers are particularly skilled problem solvers and are prone to taking initiative and getting things done. Our sponsor had a chance to see makers in action, learn what they’re capable of, and do so knowing the context. All of this is much more credible and demonstrable than an emailed CV.

    When they made a job offer they knew what they were getting. What they saw, they liked.

    As Mark says, there’s a lesson here worth learning.

  2. Arnold says:

    “the mayor of Bridgeport, Conn. recently reported that there are companies looking to hire qualified individuals with technical skills, but the companies can’t find them.”

    This is a political lie. It is simply not true, you can always find someone with existing skills, but perhaps not at the price you wanted to pay. It is all a matter of cost.

    This is often parroted by large companies and their political stepchildren in order to siphon off public funds for their own good, to steal from the public to pay for recruitment costs that they should have to pay for, the idea being that qualified applicants will erupt from the ground if only you help us train them.

    1. Arnold has touched on the issue head-on. There is a Huge talent pool out there but at the wages that these manufacturing companies want to pay then that pool dries up completely. We all see the $100million dollar per year salary of these CEOs and other even smaller companies that have huge salaries for their management teams. That extreme increase in managerial salary has taken away the pay from the lower echelon hourly workers; hence the “Skilled” labor pool dried up. When the sons of fathers working in said manufacturing positions saw their dads struggling to bring home a break even pay these young men/girls decided on different courses of employment. It pains me to hear and read ona daily basis the contempt that this Country has for the Hourly worker, being blamed for all sorts of problems with our Economy. I could go on endlessly but for what purpose as I am sure that anybody that would read my rant would most likely agree with some or most of what I say. No One is worth $100 million dollars a year. No One, especially when others are suffering in that same company……….. Fast Cash, Maximum Profits, The Future Be damned…. is the New Business Model being praised upon in every Board Room in the USA !

      1. Nick says:

        How true ” No One is worth $100 million dollars a year. No One, especially when others are suffering in that same company………. ” Capitalism is dead and the world has caught on to economic slavery. I’m tired of the class system, aren’t you? Everyone Make our way out of this archaic stooopid system.

    2. Scott says:

      I agree, to an extent. However, there is a group of sufficiently skilled or definitely trainable workers that could and would do the job at the wage offered, but who lack the social and other skills to get or keep the job…. or who just don’t want to work, because welfare is just too good to them.

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