The Chevron Maker Annex at the Children's Museum of Houston
According to The Fab Foundation, a grant from Chevron will allow them to open up to 10 fabrication laboratories across the country over the course of the next three years through a $10 million grant.
Set for locations across the U.S. in areas where Chevron has operations, the first two facilities will be opened in Bakersfield and Richmond, California.
The Fab Foundation says that once the facilities are complete, they'll be capable of providing some 20,000 students and adults a hands-on science and technology experience as part of Chevron's $30 million commitment and call-to-action to support grants for STEM education.
The announcement was made as part of the White House Maker Faire.
"Along with launching new fab labs, Chevron's grant will help build the Fab Foundation's capacity to provide access to digital fabrication across the country and around the world. At the White House Maker Faire, we celebrated how makers are using these tools to innovate for the future," said Neil Gershenfeld, chairman of the Fab Foundation board.
The Fab Labs are components of many STEM programs and include a curriculum which gives students hands-on, applied STEM learning opportunities.
"Few things are more important to our nation's future than student interest and proficiency in STEM," said Blair Blackwell of Chevron. "Through our partnership with The Fab Foundation, we are proud to increase the number of students across the country that have access to develop project-based, critical thinking skills. This partnership underscores our commitment to ensuring that students have the foundation they need to succeed."
The precursor to the White House Maker Faire, the first such event was held in 2006 in San Mateo, CA, and it was organized by the publishers of MAKE Magazine. Since then, Maker Faires have taken place around the country.
"The rise of the Maker Movement represents a huge opportunity for the United States. Nationwide, new tools for democratized production are boosting innovation and entrepreneurship in manufacturing, in the same way that the Internet and cloud computing have lowered the barriers to entry for digital startups, creating the foundation for new products and processes that can help to revitalize American manufacturing," said a statement from the White House blog.
Called the "Day of Making," June 18 marked the date of the White House Maker Faire which President Obama attended to preside over the event.
Last month, the White House also announced a $35 million "Education to Innovate" campaign and incorporated the announcement into this year's State of the Union Address.
"Today, more and more Americans are gaining access to 21st century tools, from 3D printers and scanners to design software and laser cutters," Obama said of the event. "Thanks to the democratization of technology, it is easier than ever for inventors to create just about anything. Across our Nation, entrepreneurs, students, and families are getting involved in the Maker Movement. My Administration is increasing their access to advanced design and research tools while organizations, businesses, public servants, and academic institutions are doing their part by investing in makerspaces and mentoring aspiring inventors."