SouthWorks MakerLab Network
February, 2015
Network Notes
MakerLab Committee Update

Prairie State has had promising talks with a local artist's group about their interest in MakerLab activities and is looking for a summer opening. Potential programming includes camps and programs for K-12 faculty and students. 


Moraine Valley has assembled a task force and is visiting other makerspaces to gather more information. 


South Suburban College recently held a STEM event for its local K-12 districts, and the maker-like activities brought multiple requests for more such opportunities. The Oak Forest campus is targeted as the home of the MakerLab as well as electronics programs, and a summer opening is planned. 


Reggie Greenwood (CGMP) introduced an opportunity to participate in a ready-made Maker Apprenticeship program at no cost to the institutions. The program consists of multiple modules on manufacturing skills as well as design and "intrapreneurial" soft skills. Lesson plans, student handouts, and teacher resources are included. Interest was sufficient to warrant a follow-up conference call with the sponsors.


The MakerLab committee was interested in the possibility of hosting a MakerFaire in 2015 to bolster interest and locate and connect with pockets of "makership" in our region. Given the effort and coordination involved, further discussion was suggested at the next meeting. 


MakerLab ToolKit
The MakerLab ToolKit gathers in one place information and resources SMHEC has developed regarding MakerLab equipment, marketing, concept plan, intellectual property, and other topics. All documents are downloadable from the SMHEC website, and the Chief Academic Officers received a hard copy. 

Illinois Institute of Technology IPRO MakerLab Team Works With SMHEC, Wins Award

Congratulations to IIT's Maker Breakers Team who won first place in the STEM Innovation Cluster at IIT's IPRO competition on Friday, November 21, 2014.


The student team created a "Big Book of Projects", which contains MakerLab- based STEM projects, and a K-12 faculty workshop, which we can deliver to local high schools. Both resources integrate the new Next Generation Science Standards.


Don Brozek of SMHEC, Dr. Anna Helwig, Dean of STEM at SSC, and Bill Kuban, IMAN Grant Coordinator at PSC provided guidance to the team.    

 Read More  

University of St. Francis Opens Its Downtown Joliet Business Incubator; Accepts First Tenants 

The first group of four tenants, one of which is a student start-up, has moved into the University of St. Francis' new business incubator in its downtown Joliet campus building. A formal opening is planned for a later date.
Olivet Nazarene Announces New Incubator
 Together  with local partners, Olivet Nazarene University announced the creation of Catalyst Innovation Center in Bradley, IL, to build entrepreneurship in the region. Future plans include a MakerLab.

MakerLab Near Opening in Park Forest
Calumet Green Manufacturing Partnership (CGMP), a community partner of the SouthWorks MakerLab Network, is nearing the opening of a MakerLab in Park Forest. The MakerLab won a $50,000 U.S. Small Business Administration incubator innovation contest and is additionally supported by the Village of Park Forest. The MakerLab is part of CGMP's OAI Park Forest office space at 214 Forest Blvd. A laser cutter and two 3D printers have been installed, and events will begin in early spring.

SMHEC Participates in Greater Calumet Region Promise Zone Application

Viewing the SouthWorks MakerLab network as a strong initiative to bolster the region, Cook County requested SMHEC participation in a county-led group applying to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for federal designation for the Greater Calumet area as a Promise Zone. While not a direct funding opportunity, the designation provides successful applicants with preference for certain competitive Federal programs.

SMHEC Grants Committee Meets to Support MakerLab Network

The SMHEC Grants committee met to discuss potential funding sources for the MakerLab network. Members learned about the network and its many educational, industry, and innovation benefits. Potential funders and programs were identified. Through SMHEC, the group will communicate with each other as they find opportunities and determine appropriate application strategies. 


TMA Grants Sought
Several SMHEC institutions applied to the Technology & Manufacturing Association (TMA) Education Foundation to purchased equipment for their MakerLabs. TMA represents over 1,000 Chicagoland precision-manufacturing and supplier members. Greta Salamando, the associate director of Education Foundation Services, attended a MakerLab committee meeting to talk about TMA and learn about our initiative.
Working Name of Network: SouthWorks 
SouthWorks was the legendary U.S. Steel mill on Lake Michigan that drove the manufacturing powerhouse that our region became. The MakerLab committee felt that it would be an appropriate name for our MakerLab network to honor our manufacturing heritage and state that our region continues to "work" and excel at making things.

SouthWorks MakerLab Logo Contest

University of St. Francis is hosting a student design contest to create a logo/tagline/style to go along with the SouthWorks name. 


Prairie State College Develops Marketing Brochure for SouthWorks MakerLab Network

Prairie State College is donating graphic and editorial services to create a marketing brochure for the SouthWorks MakerLab network.


The brochure was flexibly designed to serve as a general marketing piece for the entire network and can be tailored to fit each individual MakerLab's marketing needs.

Maker: The Movie Available

SMHEC has purchased the rights to show Maker:The Movie, an inspiring

hour-long documentary on the Maker Movement. The movie provides a glimpse into the many types and ages of people drawn to making, and the movement's impact on education, entrepreneurship, and manufacturing. Contact Don Brozek ( if you're interested in showing it to a class, faculty, or other stakeholders. Link to trailer

University of St. Francis Hosts Maker Event With Dale Dougherty

USF's College of Business & Health Administration's Business Incubator is hosting a presentation by Dale Dougherty, the creator of Make Magazine  and the MakerFaire concept, and a primary evangelist for the Maker Movement. 


All are welcome to attend and spread the word to faculty, students, and other pontential stakeholders to help build an interest in making in our region. 


March 24, 2015

7:00pm to 8:30pm

Sullivan Recreation Center


Registration is required at


USFabLab Symposium 


Gateway Technical College in Racine, WI, is hosting the USFabLab Network 

Symposium on March 23-25, 2015.


The symposium will focus on lab startup, leveraging FabLabs for entreprenuership, incorporating the labs into educational programming, and financial sustainability strategies. In addition, tours of Gateway's new Manufacturing Education Center will be available. A variety of equipment vendors will demonstrate projects and capabilities.  Details and Registration


Technori Maker Movement Event

Technori's monthly tech-focused events at the Chase Auditorium in the Loop attract local techies, investors, entrepreneurs, etc. to hear about local technology and entrepreneurship. The February 24th event is dedicated to the Maker Movement. Last year's event featured several successful Maker entrepreneurs and presentations by maker groups. This year, Zach Kaplan, founder and CEO if Inventables, will be the keynote speaker. This is a great opportunity to see the energy around the Maker Movement and connect with others. It is ideal for a student field trip or to convince stakeholders.

More info and registration details.