It’s been a busy week!
Americans all over the country of all ages and backgrounds celebrated National Week of Making from June 17-23. The week coincided with the two-year anniversary of the 2014 White House Maker Faire and built on last year’s National Week of Making. Thousands of organizations responded to President Obama’s call to action by celebrating innovators and committing to new steps that will create even more opportunities in the months and years ahead.
Here are just a few highlights of the hundreds of events and actions from this week.
Planning Already Underway for Next Year
In addition to this year’s activities outlined below, Federal agencies such as the Department of Energy, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office have joined with the maker community already looking forward to planning next year’s events, including the National Maker Faire on June 17 and 18, in addition to many other events that will be planned for the National Week of Making, which will be celebrated around the country from June 16-22, 2017.
"No country has done more to build a culture of making and tinkering, of entrepreneurship and risk-taking"
On Monday, June 20 the President highlighted the National Week of Making during his remarks at the SelectUSA conference, saying: "No country has done more to build a culture of making and tinkering, of entrepreneurship and risk-taking."
These statements built on the Presidential Proclamation released last week: “In 2014, I launched the Nation of Makers initiative to ensure more Americans of all ages and backgrounds have greater opportunities to design, build, and manufacture. My Administration is taking steps to foster "maker mindsets" by promoting skills like creative problem-solving, and to support the development of collaborative maker spaces so aspiring makers and manufacturers can turn their bold ideas into realities. I am proud that so many people across our country have already joined in this effort… Together we must continue to expand opportunity for generations to come by working to eliminate the digital divide and reduce existing skill and confidence gaps.” President Obama continued, “It is critical that we support the types of hands-on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning experiences -- in both formal and informal environments -- that students encounter through making, which can help unlock their full potential and ignite their enthusiasm for the careers of tomorrow.”
Nation of Makers Kick-Off Meeting
The White House welcomed one maker-ambassador from every state to explore ways that makers in each state could lift up local makers, connect more individuals who may not currently be benefiting from maker opportunities, and learn from Federal agencies representatives on how to connect makers with existing and recently announced initiatives. Each attendee committed to championing the President’s Nation of Makers Initiative back in their state and building out a more robust network of makers.
Actions from Commitment-makers
Representing exciting actions from more than 1,500 organizations, the White House National Week of Making Fact Sheet outlines exciting steps being taken to build momentum and support the maker movement. These actions included:
White House Champions of Change for Making
The White House celebrated 10 individual as Champions of Change for Making. The individuals came from across country, including one Champ from as far away as Alaska, and others from Ohio, Oregon, Louisiana, Rhode Island, Texas, Massachusetts, New York, and California. The event also featured:
National Maker Faire
More than 15,000 individuals attended the National Maker Faire held at the University of the District of Columbia. The Faire featured more than 103 maker exhibits, 57 speakers, and 22 organizations. As part of the event, a special State of Making kick-off was held and included remarks from government officials Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith, and OSTP Deputy Director Tom Kalil.
Educating a Nation of Makers
The U.S. Department of Education announced the Career Technology Education (CTE) Makeover Challenge Winners, who will be receiving cash and in-kind prizes and who will join a growing community of practice. The winners (selected from more than 600 applicant schools from around the country) are:
Additionally, Secretary John King published an op-ed in the U.S. News and World Report titled “Building a Nation of Makers”, highlighting the role making plays in empowering students to solve real-world problems, motivating and inspiring young people in science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) and the arts, fostering a "maker mindset," and increasing student engagement.
Maker to Manufacturing Stakeholder Engagement
Approximately 100 individuals representing makers, manufacturing, thought leaders, investors, and supporters came together to explore next-generation tools, knowledge-transfer platforms, and place-based initiatives to bridge the gap between making a single prototype and manufacturing a small batch of products here in America. This dialogue will continue as part of Manufacturing Day in October.
Make Schools Alliance Meeting
Representatives from dozens of universities and colleges gathered to share promising practices and further expand work connecting students and communities around the country to the maker movement.
Making Health Symposium
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) IDEA Lab organized two events to build on its Invent Health Initiative that seeks to empower inventors both inside and outside government to create tools for better living and better clinical care. In collaboration with public and private partners, HHS co-hosted a public event Making Health: An Interactive Celebration of How Tinkering, Technology and Design Tools Are Transforming Healthcare at the Georgetown University Leavey Center. In addition, HHS CTO, Susannah Fox, participated in the Making Health: Inspiring Innovative Solutions for Research and Clinical Care symposium held with industry at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Capitol Hill Maker Faire
Organized by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) in collaboration with the Maker Caucus, a bi-partisan group in Congress co-chaired by U.S. Representatives Mark Takano (D-CA), Steve Stivers (R-OH), Tim Ryan (D-OH), and Mick Mulvaney (R-SC). The event had more than 1,000 registrants with 42 presenting makers and—in addition to welcoming a number of lawmakers from both the House and Senate—included a presentation by the Navy in which a 3D file was sent to the International Space Station to be 3D printed in space.
Andrew Coy is the Senior Advisor for Making for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.