Grant Will Expand Existing Workforce Readiness Program
The Clubhouse Network was recently awarded a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The Makerspace Training, Collaboration and Hiring (MaTCH) Pilot Competition, recently launched by the SBA, provides funding to expand programs with job-specific and soft-skills training within existing makerspaces. The SBA awarded $1 million in prize money to only 12 organizations across the entire country.
The grant will fund The Clubhouse Network’s new Skill-based Opportunities for Advancement and Readiness (SOAR) Program operating out of The Flagship Clubhouse. SOAR will support young adults over the age of 19, in particular for those who are disconnected from school or work. Solomon McBride, Clubhouse-to-College/Career Pathways Coordinator, will lead the project.
“This program will be a great benefit to those young adults who are drifting away from school or employment, only hurting their future opportunities,” said McBride. “We hope SOAR will re-engage them, and help build the skills and confidence they need to be successful.”
SOAR will kick off this fall and involve workforce readiness and tech training, combined with Clubhouse mentoring. Participants will each be awarded a stipend upon completion of the program as an incentive, to recognize the work accomplished, and as compensation for time spent in addition to the goal of immediate placement into a meaningful paid job.
“We are thrilled to have been selected as a recipient of this generous grant,” said Gail Breslow, Executive Director of The Clubhouse Network. “We have always sought to grow the workforce of tomorrow and we’re excited the SBA is supporting that effort. This award will make such a difference in the lives of Roxbury’s young adults.”
Robert H. Nelson, Massachusetts district director of the U.S. Small Business Administration said, “I was excited to learn that The Clubhouse Network, with a makerspace in the heart of Boston, has been awarded a Scale grant of $100,000. With the award from the SBA MaTCH pilot competition, The Clubhouse Network will expand its Clubhouse-to-Career (C2C) Pathways to Success program for young adults.”
The SBA believes that existing makerspaces are uniquely positioned to help increase workforce development in U.S. cities. The MaTCH Pilot Competition seeks to address the job skills and placement gap faced by U.S. businesses by providing funding to create or expand programs within existing makerspaces that offer job-specific and soft skills training.
U.S. Small Business Administration Acting Administrator Chris Pilkerton said “Makerspaces are uniquely positioned to help innovate training for the workforces of today and tomorrow, and spur economic development across the country. Through the MaTCH competition, the winners will be able to directly support vocational education, develop apprenticeships, and cultivate access to entrepreneurship.”
The Clubhouse is a makerspace that promotes community, peer-to-peer support, and inclusion. It is simultaneously an artist studio, inventor’s workshop, design house, film sound stage and backlot, hackerspace, music studio, and video game development lab. The Clubhouse provides a safe, creative learning environment for young people to explore their own ideas, develop skills, and build confidence in themselves through the use of technology.