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.