LaunchSpace is a non-profit, member-based community workshop in the Orange Innovation Center, providing tools, equipment, education, and support to people who want to make and repair things, but don't have space, money, or time to build a shop of their own. It offers an environment to share creative energy, a classroom for personal learning for all ages, and workforce training for re-entry into the job market.
LaunchSpace has created a makerspace offering a three-tiered approach to community engagement, workforce development and education, and business creation. Taken together, the three-tiered structure forms a replicable approach to economic revitalization within semi-rural, post-industrial communities, which tend the highest rates of unemployment, poverty and limited access to economic opportunity.
Our first tier is that we provide a set of shops where members can express themselves and get to know one another through a variety of making arts including artistic and industrial skills such as arts and pottery, IT and robotics, glassblowing and forging, wood and metal working.
The second tier is as a classroom and training facility, providing certificate courses in valuable employment skills in collaboration with the local community colleges and UMass, as well as interesting skills classes to members and guests.
The third tier is business creation and incubation into an innovation economy, toward which we provide access to equipment and space, as well as business consulting, financial education, marketing, and other forms of support organized from the broader community.