Photo by A Bit O' Whimsy Photography via Lacey MakerSpace

Lacey MakerSpace is going to receive a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration.

The grant will be used to purchase technical equipment and train workers and business owners impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell — also the chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation — has announced.

“This $1 million grant will help spur innovation and support small businesses in South Puget Sound. The Lacey MakerSpace aims to build a diverse entrepreneurial ecosystem that provides local artists and small businesses access to highly technical fabrication tools and educational resources,” said Cantwell, (D-WA), who wrote a letter in August 2020 in support of Lacey MakerSpace’s grant application. “This grant will allow the Lacey MakerSpace to purchase state-of-the art equipment to continue providing workforce training to help workers and small business owners gain the skills they need to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

The grant will be matched with $251,700 in local funds. The project is expected to generate $1.4 million in private investment.

In partnership with the Thurston Economic Development Council Center for Business & Innovation (CB&I), the City of Lacey, and St. Martin’s University, the Lacey MakerSpace operates as an innovation lab for small business owners, artists, and entrepreneurs in Thurston County. Within the first 36 months of purchasing the new equipment with this grant, CB&I and its partners will be able to continue offering several short-term and long-term training programs that are expected to retrain 335 displaced workers, train 93 participants each year for the next 10 years, and generate 2,322 direct, indirect, and induced jobs in the South Puget Sound region.