Regular readers of our blog may remember Fremont’s FUSE Corps Executive, Parker Thomas, whose one-year fellowship was defined by the goal of creating a “human resource pipeline for advanced manufacturing.” After six months of “listening, prototyping, and planning,” it became obvious to Parker that beyond the basic hiring search for competent engineers and technicians, what companies truly need are innovators and creative problem solvers.

One of the solutions Parker implemented to meet this workforce demand is a makerspace at the Fremont Main Library, full of cutting-edge technology such as laser cutters and 3D printers, for students to work through unique challenges through trial and error. Formed in partnership with Irvington High School engineering teacher Kristin Berbawy and with the assistance of two Fremont-based advanced manufacturing companies, SepiSolar and Gridscape, the makerspace has caught the attention of tech-savvy educators nationwide, and was recently featured in T.H.E. Journal.

The choice of the library to host the makerspace was not random. By selecting a public institution that people have trusted for hundreds of years to learn and try new things, it allows everyone (regardless of age or skill level) to “learn how to learn” in a new way and in an accessible space.

Fremont alone employs nearly 30,000 workers in the manufacturing industry, an industry highly susceptible to technological advancements and skill obsolescence. The library makerspace is just one of the many avenues Fremont is exploring to help train and equip the next generation of creative problem solvers to navigate the shifting landscape of advanced manufacturing and beyond.

To read more about the makerspace and the work that has already been done there, read Parker Thomas and Alameda County Library CEO Cindy Chadwick’s full article in T.H.E. Journal, Bringing the Library into the 21st Century.