Program Goal:

The goal of the Fabrication Laboratories (Fab Labs) Grant Program is to support the growth of a talent pipeline in the state of Wisconsin.

This program supports the following WEDC Strategic Pillar and Focus Area:

Strategic Economic Competitiveness: State/Regional Talent and Workforce Initiatives

Program Description:

The program is designed to support hands-on science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) education by assisting public school districts with equipment purchases used for instructional and educational purposes in fabrication laboratories in Wisconsin schools. The open Fab Lab environment enables students to learn the skills necessary to thrive in the 21st century global economy. Fab Labs may also serve as a local economic development tool, providing a resource for entrepreneurs, businesses and inventors through community access.

Eligibility Requirements:


“CESA” means Cooperative Education Service Agencies, as defined by Wis. Stat. §116.01.

“Fab Lab” means a high-technology workshop equipped with computer-controlled additive and subtractive manufacturing components, such as 3-dimensional printers, laser engravers, computer numerical control routers and/or plasma cutters. A fully functioning Fab Lab has active engagement with the business community, is accessible to multiple departments within a school or schools, provides community access, and is integrated with the network of Wisconsin-based Fab Labs.

“Public School District” means the territorial unit for school administration as defined by Wis. Stat. §115.01(3).

Grant Conditions:

Wisconsin public school districts may apply for a grant to purchase equipment to be used for instructional and educational purposes in one or more fabrication laboratories by elementary, middle, junior high, or high school students. Either a CESA or a lead public school district may apply on behalf of a consortium of two or more public school districts. All applicants must match 1:1 the amount of funding provided by WEDC. During FY19, WEDC is placing a moratorium on applicants that have already received three Fab Labs Grants. This does not apply to Milwaukee Public Schools.

WEDC will take the following into account when considering a Fab Lab Grant application:

  • Readiness and long-range planning
  • Curriculum
  • Business and community partnerships
  • Financial need and previous awards

Incentives and Available Funding (FY19): $500,000

The incentives in this program are grants of up to $25,000 for individual school districts or up to $50,000 for consortium applications to reimburse recipients for equipment purchases. The Fab Labs Grant Program has an annual competition for funding. Applicants may only be awarded one grant per cycle.

Activities and Expected Outcomes:

Assist 20 public school districts or consortia.

Performance Reporting:

Recipients will be required to submit a performance report documenting the number of unique students who accessed the lab as part of a curriculum-based learning environment, as well as any other contract deliverable.

WEDC may impose additional reporting requirements to evaluate project performance and to ensure compliance with contract deliverables.

Application and Awards Process:

The Fab Laps Grant Program has a competitive application process. Applicants for a Fab Labs Grant should complete an application through an account manager. The completed application will be assigned to a committee for review and recommendation. An underwriter will be assigned to review each recommended award and go through the award review process.

For more information on application review, internal process and award distribution, please refer to WEDC’s award administration policies and procedures.