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Services, Collaborations and Partnerships

Jim Correll, director Fab Lab ICC at Independence Community College, Independence Kansas 

Industrial suppliers use a line card to show customers and prospects what lines of products they have to offer. Besides being a place where people can make things, Fab Lab ICC has become involved in several collaborations and partnerships in our first five years and people have asked for something that describes these various services, collaborations and partnerships. 

Broader Mission 

In the beginning, we created the Lab as a place where people could imagine, design and create almost anything. That is still true, but we’ve found that Lab activities have a very positive effect on self-efficacy, that special form of self-confidence leading people to make better decisions toward improving their lives. That discovery changed our mission which we think of now as“FAB LAB ICC empowers the individual to satisfy the innate human need to solve problems. By imagining, we build hope. By designing, we innovate. By creating, we increase self-efficacy.”  

Our “line” card of services, collaborations and partnerships. 

Fab Lab and Maker Space 

We are a community membership organization. Our ICC students, faculty and staff can become members at no charge. Individual memberships at $125 annually are the most popular with family and corporate memberships offering discounts for several members under “one roof.” Membership includes access to machines, capabilities and facilities with instruction. 

Growth Accelerator 

Members that are aspiring entrepreneurs and existing small business owners become part of the Growth Accelerator to access business coaching and special tools to help them grow in addition to discounts on materials purchased through the Lab. 

Fab Advisor 

This tool, available to Growth Accelerator members, is a method to create a customized, virtual advisory board that can be used to ask questions, bounce ideas and get feedback. The means of communication is a private forum on the Lab web site only accessible to the chosen members of a particular board. 

Women 4 Women 

The initial purpose of this initiative seeks to lower barriers to full or part-time business ownership by women. It has become a growing support network of women helping other women. Activities include some Lab maker events and some informational events for business and marketing. The effort is supported by a 2-year grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City. 

Fab Force 

Fab Force is an alternative technical certificate program for those who are not sure what vocational areas they wish to work. Curriculum revolves around a core set of courses to develop an entrepreneurial mindset as an effective approach to problem solving, conflict resolution and character. The rest of the certificate program includes a buffet of course work as an introduction to many technical disciplines. 

Greenbush Special Programs 

We co-host several initiatives that are part of Greenbush, formally known as the Southeast Kansas Educational Cooperative. During the school year, gifted students from seven area school districts descend on the Lab on Wednesdays to use our facility for project-based learning. In the summer months from June through mid-July, we co-host a series of week-long morning “boot camps” during which students do various projects in the Lab; make almost anything, robotics, and community solutions. 

Verizon STEM Camp 

Last summer, Fab Lab ICC became one of sixteen United States community colleges to receive a grant from the Verizon Foundation to allow up to 100 middle school girls to attend, without charge, a 3-week, full-day STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) camp. The girls learn lots of cool technology by doing 3D printing, vinyl cutting, virtual reality and coding. There’s also lots of hand work involved to improve manual dexterity. While they are all having fun, they are also peering into future possibilities for their life’s work. 

Network Kansas E-Community 

Before Fab Lab ICC, the Entrepreneurship program at ICC helped facilitate what is now known as the Montgomery County E-Community, part of a state organization called Network Kansas. The primary function of E-Community is to provide GAP financing for small business ventures and expansions in addition to conventional bank financing. To date, this E-Community effort has loaned out nearly $700,000 in low interest GAP financing. 

Adult Basic Education 

In January 2019, we invited the only Adult Basic Education (ABE) program remaining in Montgomery County to join us at the Lab so we could help instructor Dan Fossoy incorporate project-based learning in the efforts for these folks to get their belated GED (in our state known as the Kansas High School Diploma equivalent. Making projects shows the relevance of much of the math, reading and science the students have to know to pass their test. ICC has hosted ABE for years, but this pilot is the first effort to incorporate project-based learning. 

We will post these summaries to our site and begin working to provide expanded details of each at www.fablabicc.org.  

Jim Correll is the director of Fab Lab ICC at the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship on the campus of Independence Community College. He can be reached at (620) 252-5349, by email at jcorrell@indycc.edu or Twitter @jimcorrellks.  


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