U.S. Small Business Administration Acting Administrator Chris Pilkerton announced the launch of the Makerspace Training, Collaboration and Hiring pilot competition, known as MaTCH.
The MaTCH Pilot Competition seeks to address the job skills and placement gaps faced by U.S. businesses by providing funding to create or expand programs with job-specific and soft skills training within existing makerspaces, he said.
“In today’s booming economy, our nation’s employers are searching for qualified workers to fill the increasing amount of positions currently available,” said Pilkerton.
The MaTCH Pilot Competition challenges individual organizations or teams to utilize existing makerspaces to create or expand programs that provide the job-specific and soft skills training within existing makerspaces, including industry or trade certifications when feasible.
The SBA will award up to $1 million in total prizes to fund selected winning proposals.
To enter the competition, applicants must submit a business plan that, among other things, details their team’s qualifications, experience, and resources; the proposed training curriculum; the nature and length of the training/certification program; and the number of trainees that will be accommodated.
“The SBA believes that existing makerspaces are uniquely positioned to help increase workforce development in U.S. cities of our nation’s workforce,” said Yvette T. Collazo, SBA District Director for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
“Our goal is to have all program graduates immediately placed in positions with previously identified employers that are in need of skilled labor,” she said.
“We encourage as many applications as possible in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to further create jobs in our communities and spur our local economies,” Collazo added.
The submission period runs through July 8, 2019 and winners will be announced Aug. 6, 2019.