U.S. Small Business Administration Acting Administrator Chris Pilkerton recently announced the launch of the Makerspace Training, Collaboration and Hiring (MaTCH) Pilot Competition.

The MaTCH Pilot Competition seeks to address the job skills and placement gaps faced by U.S. businesses by providing a total of $1 million in funding to create or expand programs with job-specific and soft skills training within existing makerspaces.

The SBA believes that existing makerspaces are uniquely positioned to help increase workforce development in U.S. cities of our nation’s workforce.

“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 reaffirms the SBA commitment to supporting new forms of vocational education, developing apprenticeships, independent work, and cultivating access to entrepreneurship. This pilot competition will help empower a stronger connection between the maker’s community and job creation, and ultimately provide an added economy boost to communities across our nation.”

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 goal is to have all program graduates immediately placed in positions with previously identified employers that are in need of skilled labor. The SBA will award competition prizes ranging from $25,000 to $200,000.

To enter, 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.

Submission deadline is July 8, with winners announced Aug. 6.

Entry forms for applicants, as well as rules and requirements, can be found at www.sba.gov/match.

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