Clowes Fund Invests in Workforce Development at HatchSpace

June 07, 2022 10:20 AM | Lars Hasselblad Torres (Administrator)

The Clowes Fund has awarded HatchSpace $20,000 to invest in workforce training and development in digital design and fabrication. Based in Indianapolis, Seattle, and New England the Clowes Fund is a family foundation with a mission to enhance the common good by encouraging organizations and projects that help build a just and equitable society, create opportunities for initiative, foster creativity and the growth of knowledge, and promote appreciation of the natural environment.

The purpose of HatchSpace's grant is to launch new 3D Digital Design programs and expand the financial aid available through the HatchSpace Scholarship Fund. Over the next year HatchSpace will create new programs to teach career skills in the production, manufacturing, and creative sectors. Our 3D Digital Design programs will help participants build skills that are in demand by our region’s employers.

To ensure these programs are accessible to anyone in our community who seeks to participate, HatchSpace will provide need-based support to cover registration fees.

Programs established through this grant will be offered in two different formats, both providing opportunities for different demographics to learn design and fabrication skills:

  1.  Groups of five or less young people up to age 18 will learn how to use our tabletop CNC machine and Laser Printer. HatchSpace has established partnerships to coordinate recruitment through local organizations that serve young people.

  2.  The second format will be open to the public, working with groups of up to 10 people and incorporating our full sized CNC machine.

According to a hiring needs assessment recently conducted by the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation (BDCC), “The need for experienced workers is causing a system-wide problem and the pressure is not going to let up. We are in the midst of a demographic shift, draining experienced workers from the workforce due to retirements. As older workers exit the workforce, replacing the highly experienced Baby Boomer cohort and Generation X cohort with younger workers means a loss of experience overall within firms, along with the individual challenge of filling each of those positions.” 

Market research conducted by HatchSpace in January 2022 corroborates this growing demand for employees with 3D design experience. A survey of job listings through GS Precision and Bensonwood Homes found 28 open positions, most of which require some 3D Design experience. These open positions include titles such as 3D Modeler/Virtual Fabricator, CAD Detail Drafter, CNC Machine Operator, and Manufacturing Engineer. A Process Engineer at G S Precision told HatchSpace that their company is having a hard time finding people with machinist skills to fill positions.The Marketing Director at Bensonwood Homes offered the following testimony about the impact of this project, “Bensonwood Homes is a growing business and that benefits directly from efforts at HatchSpace to teach both traditional woodworking and new, innovative methods and skills to a broad and diverse community.”

Having reopened in a new and larger facility, HatchSpace is expanding programming to include a full range of job-ready design and programming skills. Our new 3D design equipment gives HatchSpace the designation of being Brattleboro’s first accessible high-tech workshop. Among public facilities, a similar workshop does not exist in our region. HatchSpace has heard our local community corroborate the growing concern that our region does not currently have the capacity to meet increased demand for tradespeople. To train more local tradespeople, our new 3D Digital Design programs will teach technical skills and provide experience working with high-tech equipment used by builders, manufacturers, and entrepreneurs in the modern workforce.

We're thrilled to be embarking on this work with the early support of the Clowes Fund. Interested in learning more, or want to get involved? Please reach out to us at info at hatchspace dot org.

HatchSpace is a project of The Hatch, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization  •  Brattleboro, VT  •  •  (802) 257-3935
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