Today, the White House renews its support of the National Week of Making and National Maker Faire, along with a series of technology-supporting initiatives that include putting makerspaces into high schools, as well as increasing the outreach of its TechHire initiative.
The National Week of Making will run from June 17 to 23, and will include the National Maker Faire on June 18th and 19th at the University of the District of Columbia. The event launched in 2014 as the White House Maker Faire and featured a diverse gathering of makers displaying their creations and endeavors outside and inside the White House. It included President Obama meeting many Maker Faire icons such as Russell the Giraffe, a 17′ tall interactive robot that has been a favorite at many Maker Faires since the event’s inception. In 2015, the gathering moved to the current campus, growing in size and becoming a full two-day event called the National Maker Faire.
The National Week of Making will include new commitments being made by both the government and private sector in support of the president’s Nation of Makers initiative, says Tom Kalil, the Deputy Director for Technology and Innovation with the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy. Kalil explains the President’s interest in the Maker Movement through its opportunities to increase interest and engagement with entrepreneurship and manufacturing through democratized tools and technology.
In addition, the Department of Eduction is announcing the Career and Technical Education Makeover Challenge to encourage the creation of makerspaces in U.S. high schools. That department is also partnering with Digital Promise and Maker Ed to created Maker Promise, a pledge for K-12 school leaders to support students by designating spaces and leaders to assist students in making and sharing their projects. Educators and community members that want to get their school involved can sign up on the program’s website.
Along with the announcements, the White House is also launching 15 new TechHire locations, an initiative to increase the number of Americans being hired for jobs in the high-tech sector. Launched a year ago, the program now includes 50 U.S. communities that are adjusting their hiring practices and increase access to technology education. And the White House is introducing a new program called STEM OPT (optional practical training), which will allow international students studying STEM subjects to access up to 36 months of additional on-the-job training.
For more information about the National Maker Faire, or to get involved, visit makerfaire.com/national.