Vocademy Awarded $100,000 by SBA
Riverside, CA – The U.S. Small Business Administration Acting Administrator Chris Pilkerton announced the winners of the Makerspace Training, Collaboration and Hiring (MaTCH) Pilot Competition. The SBA awarded $1 million in prize money to competition winners. Vocademy, located in Riverside County in a designated Opportunity Zone, with a mission to provide advanced manufacturing and maker skills, was awarded $100,000.
“Our goal at Vocademy is to help people find meaningful work by providing fundamental hands on skills training and to effectively solve the advanced manufacturing skills gap. Being a recipient of the SBA MaTCH Grant will help us exceptionally achieve our goal of creating the skilled innovators of tomorrow,” said Gene Sherman, founder and CEO, Vocademy.
Vocademy combines attributes of makerspaces and traditional trade schools by giving participants access to makerspace evenings, seven-days-a-week, where they can practice what they are learning and gain critical experience. As an SBA MaTCH award recipient, Vocademy will use its prize money to scale current successful programs that serve the needs of manufacturing companies looking for employees and underserved participants who seek training and a high paying job.
“It is my privilege to announce the twelve winners of the SBA’s MaTCH Pilot Competition. The MaTCH competition is a testament to the SBA’s commitment to identifying employment opportunities and supporting small business’ workforce recruitment and retention,” said Acting Administrator Chris Pilkerton. “Makerspaces are uniquely positioned to help innovate training for the workforces of today and tomorrow, and spur economic development across the country. Through the MaTCH competition, the winners will be able to directly support vocational education, develop apprenticeships, and cultivate access to entrepreneurship. In addition, I am pleased to note that multiple winners are located in Opportunity Zones where job creation and investments are moving forward to revitalize communities.”
The SBA’s MaTCH Pilot Competition awarded grants according to the following tiers:
- Seed: up to $25,000 will be awarded to seed small workforce development programs.
- Proof of Principle: up to $100,000 will be awarded to grow programs with a proven history of training and/or workforce development.
- Scale: up to $200,000 will be awarded for capacity building of successful existing programs with a strong history of training and/or workforce development. This winner would also have graduated participants in at least two training cycles.
Seed Winners Include:
- Forge Greensboro Community Makerspace (Greensboro, NC) – Awarded $25,000
- The Fab Lab Puerto Rico (Gurabo, PR) – Awarded $25,000
- Rightfully Sewn (Kansas, City, MO) – Awarded $25,000
- Proof of Principle Winners:
- Monadnock Art X Tech (MAxT) (Peterborough, NH) – Awarded $100,000
- Net Positive, The Foundry (Buffalo, NY) – Awarded $100,000
- RUCKUS Makerspace (Indianapolis, IN) – Awarded $100,000
Scale Winners Include:
- Workshops for Warriors (San Diego, CA) – Awarded $150,000.
- New Jersey Institute of Technology Makerspace (Newark, NJ) – Awarded $125,000
- The Clubhouse Network (Roxbury, MA) – Awarded $100,000
- NextFab (Philadelphia, PA) – Awarded $100,000
- Vocademy (Riverside, CA) – Awarded $100,000
- Fab Lab Tulsa (Tulsa, OK) – Awarded $50,000
Vocademy’s mission has always been to give people the opportunity to learn valuable (and timeless) hands-on skills. We have been changing lives for almost six years. We have achieved this by offering boot-camp style training programs in several traditional and state-of-the-art technologies. We offer these programs to individuals, schools, companies and non-profit organizations. For many, we are becoming an ideal gap-year program and a valid college alternative. Learn more at www.VOCADEMY.com
About the U.S. Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov.
About the Orange County / Inland Empire District Office
The Orange County / Inland Empire District Office, under the leadership and vision of J. Adalberto Quijada, District Director, is responsible for the delivery of SBA programs and services in the Southern California counties of Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino. Located in Santa Ana near John Wayne Airport, the office and its staff facilitate understanding and access to SBA loan programs; coordinate and conduct hundreds of training sessions and special events annually such as matchmaking forums and loan workshops; and manage a portfolio of nearly 100 businesses enrolled in the agency’s 8(a) business development program.