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Osceola awarded $500,000 for fab lab

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced it would award $500,340 to the Village of Osceola to build a fabrication laboratory, or fab lab. 

The funds will go to the Mill Pond Learning Foundation, the entity raising money for the lab, for which the village acted as a fiscal agent in the grant application process, noted capital campaign advisor John Martin.

The fab lab has become a satellite project of the Mill Pond Discovery Center. Initially conceived of as part of the combined library and municipal building, organizers moved plans for the fab lab to a building near the new fire hall to increase square footage and head off problems with noise.

The award of federal funding is a vote of confidence in the fab lab, which advocates say will help train workers with manufacturing skills and keep them in the area. 

Wisconsin has a worker shortage that economists, employers and elected officials expect to become more extreme, the Wisconsin State Journal reported earlier this month. Finding workers is already a top concern for employers in the state, according to the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce. A survey by the business trade association showed that 77 percent of employers reported having trouble finding employees, up from 53 percent in the summer of 2014. 

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