Learning Shelters
Helping People Help Themselves
Ken Moliver , Editor | May 20, 2015
Title: Editor
Topic category: Makerspace Community

If you give a person a fish you feed them for a day. If you teach them how to fish you feed them for life. The Learning Shelter's founder, Marc Roth, lived in a shelter for six months after he got sick living in his car. He found his way out through retraining himself in a local TechShop and started his own laser cutting business, SF Laser. Marc realizes that learning useful skills was the key for many people to reboot their lives. He works towards offering that opportunity to displaced people in the SF Bay area. Mark's team assembles equipment in shipping containers and leaves them in areas where people need them.. For 90 days, candidates of the Learning Shelter are exposed to mentors, instructors, and skills such as digital fabrication techniques with CNC milling, CAD, 3D printing, laser-cutting, vinyl cutting, silkscreening, injection molding, vacuum forming and more.

Technology plays a role in unemployment, because it makes companies more efficient at the expense of jobs. As long as we adapt, it's not a bad thing. We just need to help each other do it. The homeless population has grown substantially in the last 10 years. Job losses due to the recession and out of control health care costs have contributed greatly to people's misery. 'Homeless people always hear that they should “get a job.” Marc says. We’re giving them the skills to do that with 90 days of training'.

The Learning Shelter works with local entrepreneurs and develop employer contacts for the participants. In the spirit of the Cooperatist Movement it is a gateway to technology and employment.

President Obama said at the first-ever White House Maker Faire that DIY and maker activities give us the sense that “we are at the dawn of something big.” And that “as a country we ought to be doing what … Marc is doing every day …. making sure that more Americans have the skills and opportunities to land a job in a growing industry or to create entirely new industries.”

Tags: Learning Shelter, Community Outreach, Digital Fabrication
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