“If You Can Imagine It, Then You Can Do It — Whatever It Is”
These were among the inspirational words shared by President Obama at the first-ever White House Maker Faire on June 18. And, Camille and Genevieve Beatty, 14- and 12-year old entrepreneurs from Asheville, North Carolina, showed just how true these words can be. They, along with their dad, Robert, are co-founders of Beatty Robotics, a project that began as a tech blog to share their innovative projects and has grown into a company that builds custom robots for museums and prototype robots for part manufacturers.
The Beatty family was one of many innovators and entrepreneurs showcased at the Maker Faire. The event also featured students, entrepreneurs and everyday citizens who are using new tools and techniques to launch businesses, learn vital skills in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), and lead a grassroots renaissance in American manufacturing. Among the longer-term goals of the Administration are to enable more young people to design and make something that is personally meaningful to them; increase the number of cities and communities with active Maker ecosystems; and promote applications of Making in areas such as citizen science/exploration, health, science, and global development.
The Department of Education, Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education is doing its part to support the movement by helping to scale up the number of Maker spaces in high schools across the country. To this end, the Department will launch a “Career and Technical Education (CTE) Makeover Challenge” in the 2014-2015 school year through which States and local educational agencies can compete to receive technical assistance, professional development, equipment, and/or technology to modernize and upgrade their CTE facilities to meet the needs of manufacturing in the 21st century. Be on the lookout in the coming weeks for news about the challenge in this blog and on the Perkins Collaborative Resource Network (PCRN)!
–Sharon Miller is the Director of the Division of Academic and Technical Education in the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education.