The creation of a statewide makerspace network is taking a step forward.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln effort is beginning in the Sidney Public Library.
Connie Hancock, Nebraska Extension community vitality extension educator, says one goal is to find out if virtual learning in rural communities is possible.
She says tapping into the all the resources and experts at UNL opens the door to many opportunities.
“A totally different way of thinking of about, not only our rural communities, but what we potentially have the opportunities to create in our local community as well as the opportunities for our young people,” Hancock tells Nebraska Radio Network.
About 75 students around Sidney will take part in the two year pilot project funded by the National Science Foundation with a $300,000 grant.
Hancock says they want to see if this will bring new life to rural areas that often see young people leave.
“We’ve just been having lots of conversations of ‘How do we bring our young people back to rural Nebraska?’” Hancock says. “A makerspace allows them to utilize their skills, utilize their talents in a different kind of a way, providing them with space and networking that they wouldn’t have access to otherwise.”
She says the community is supporting the effort to reach out to youth in a new way.
“The collaborative effort to make this successful, I think, is really going to be something to watch in the future as we create new entrepreneurs, new entrepreneurial opportunities for not only our youth, but for the community as a whole.”