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June 19, 2017

Researchers gauge impact of "Maker" job opportunities for underserved teens

Real world problem solving through "Making" is a new and popular way to engage youth in STEM education, frequently in after-school programs. Unfortunately, not all youth are able to participate in after-school activities due to financial pressures and may instead take jobs in non-technical fields, such as food service or retail. These non-technical jobs take time away from Making, designing, and tinkering, which can leave them behind peers who are honing skills for a technical career path. With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Amy Hurst and her team at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, partnered with the Digital Harbor Foundation (DHF) to create a living laboratory print shop to study the impact of Maker employment on underserved youth. Teens can now come to the DHF Tech Center in their free time to learn the design and programming skills necessary for 3-D printing. In addition, this is a working print shop that is open for business and taking orders, so the more experienced teens also get work experience in a STEM-related job.

Credit: National Science Foundation

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