GE Innovation Labs to be built at 6 MPS middle schools, district announces

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee Public Schools and the GE Foundation announced on Wednesday, June 17 the creation of six digital fabrication labs to help inspire and prepare MPS students for a STEM-driven and innovative future.

The GE Innovation Labs are the final phase of the GE Foundation grant to MPS in 2010 that will conclude during the 2020-21 school year.

The GE Innovation Labs will serve as a place for MPS students to learn, create, play and invent using problem-solving skills, teamwork and tools for authentic problems. Local businesses will be invited to share some of their product challenges for students to solve.

“These innovation labs will assist in our commitment to accelerate student achievement and cultivate leadership among our students," MPS Superintendent Dr. Keith P. Posley said. "We are proud our current partnership with the GE Foundation has culminated with this resource to provide our students.”

The GE Innovation Labs are being placed in six MPS middle schools: Andrew Douglas, Wedgewood Park International, Audubon Technology and Communication, Hayes Bilingual, George Washington Carver Academy of Math and Science and Rufus King International Middle School.

Construction on the sites will begin in a few weeks and are scheduled to be ready and accessible to all MPS students when they are able to return to school buildings.

“These labs are not just about learning how to use new tools. They will help to develop students as adaptive problem-solvers for jobs that haven’t even been created yet,” GE Foundation Executive Director David Barash said. “Over the past decade, we have been proud to work with MPS.”

The total cost of the labs is being funded by the GE Foundation grant, including funds dedicated to educator training and supplies for each GE Lab. This includes funds to help sustain the GE Labs with supplies. Health and safety measures are also being integrated into the labs.

Each lab will be at least 1,000 square feet and filled with new equipment including: a laser cutter, vinyl cutter, multiple 3D printers, CNC router, graphic design software, soldering station, multiple types of saws, and sanders.