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Board #59: Lessons Learned Creating Youth Jobs in an Afterschool Maker Space

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Conference

2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

9

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/27972

Download Count

46

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Paper Authors

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Amy Hurst UMBC

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Amy Hurst is an Associate Professor of Human-Centered Computing in the Information Systems Department at UMBC. She studies Maker culture, accessibility problems, and builds assistive technologies.

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Shawn Grimes Digital Harbor Foundation

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Shawn Grimes is the Executive Director at the Digital Harbor Foundation where they use technology and maker skills to develop a blend of creativity and productivity in youth and educators.

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Darius McCoy Digital Harbor Foundation

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Nicholas Carter UMBC

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As an engineer at heart, I love to assist in the research on 3D printing and education in any way that I can.

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William Easley University of Maryland, Baltimore County

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William is a Ph.D. student in the Human-Centered Computing program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). He earned a B.S. in Information Systems and a M.S. in Human-Centered Computing, both from UMBC. His primary research investigates the impact that Making may have on youth engagement in STEM education and careers.

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Foad Hamidi University of Maryland, Baltimore County

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Dr. Foad Hamidi is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). His research interests include Human-Computer Interaction, Participatory
Design and Assistive Technology.

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Gabrielle Salib University of Maryland, Baltimore County

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Gabrielle is a senior undergraduate student at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County studying Human-Centered Computing through the Interdisciplinary Studies Department. She’s a member of the Prototyping and Design Lab at UMBC under the mentorship of Dr. Amy Hurst, researching the potential uses of 3D printing and modeling in education. Upon graduation in May, she plans to continue pursuing research involving children’s interactions with technology and how technology could be designed to continue to enable children’s natural sense of creativity and sociability.

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Abstract

Real-world problem solving through Making is a popular technique to engage youth in STEM education. Since it is often difficult to infuse Maker curriculum into students’ school schedules, this frequently occurs in after-school programs. Unfortunately, not all youth are able to participate in these enriching after-school activities due to financial pressures. Due to the lack of variety of youth jobs, findings a technical job may be difficult and youth may instead take jobs in non-technical fields such as food service or retail. These non-technical jobs take time away from Making, designing, and tinkering, which can leave them behind their peers who are developing valuable technical skills.

We are working to identify strategies and techniques to help youth who have been engaged in after-school maker programs transition to after-school jobs that leverage and encourage these skills. We are particularly interested in teaching youth that creative problem solving, independent learning, and collaboration are employable skills. We believe that Maker Jobs will enable youth to continue to be active in a community of youth makers, continue learning technical skills, see the applicability of these skills in their future careers, and hone crucial soft skills that are necessary to enter the technical workforce.

In this paper we discuss some of the design decisions and challenges we have encountered creating a “living laboratory” 3D print shop. This work is being done in a youth makerspace in Baltimore City that has seen attrition in their after-school programs once youth are old enough to apply for a work permit. Our 3D print shop employs youth who have completed the center’s foundational classes to perform technical jobs ranging from 3D printer operation, 3D printer repair, and managing client work. We present lessons learned in selecting and training youth for these jobs, and report on the experiences of youth transitioning from participants in an after-school maker program to employees in a technical job.

Hurst, A., & Grimes, S., & McCoy, D., & Carter, N., & Easley, W., & Hamidi, F., & Salib, G. (2017, June), Board #59: Lessons Learned Creating Youth Jobs in an Afterschool Maker Space Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/27972

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