04-02 GALA

Denise Roy-Palmer, Paul Arruda, Lynn Post and Josh Arnold at the February kick-off meeting to discuss how the GALA MakerSpace can help with Wolfeboro’s economic and workforce development needs. (Courtesy photo)

BOSTON — Global Awareness Local Action has entered an agreement with Empower Success Corps to conduct a feasibility study in preparation for a business plan for the GALA Makerspace project. 

GALA, led by Executive Director Josh Arnold, will build a Makerspace and Incubator at 23 Bay Street in Wolfeboro. According to Arnold, “This project is the culmination of many years of community engagement and visioning here in Carroll County, and now that we have a building, things are really starting to get exciting.”

The Community Makerspace & Incubator will support business and workforce development by fostering entrepreneurial leadership and investing in skill-building suited to existing and future business needs. The project will serve as a community resource network, providing a center where residents will find access to training, specialized tools and equipment, and other targeted resources and services necessary for strengthening job-creation, job-retention, business incubation, and business growth. The space will also support personal development and community building through arts, crafts, and community events. 

GALA’s project is designed to leverage the region’s skills and assets to solve the challenges of workforce development and the skills gap seen by local industry and small businesses. GALA has been preparing for this opportunity for over a decade by cultivating relationships with small businesses and families in Carroll County. They have conducted market research through surveys, community visioning nights, and focus groups, all of which will inform future programs and the forthcoming business plan.

Over the past decade, makerspaces have grown in popularity worldwide. User-reported numbers show nearly 1,400 active spaces, 14 times as many as in 2006. Also called hackerspaces or innovation labs, these establishments act as communal workshops where makers can share ideas and tools.

To kick off the project, ESC Northern New England Director Lynn Post and ESC senior consultant Paul Arruda met with Arnold and Denise Roy-Palmer, executive director of the Wentworth Economic Development Corporation, to discuss regional economic needs and workforce needs, and how GALA might provide training, equipment, facilities and programs to help the region meet those needs. “Josh’s enthusiasm is contagious,” said Post. “We’re excited to be a part of this project and help GALA make an impact in the Lakes Region by coming up with creative solutions to help solve NH’s workforce shortage.”

For more information about Empower Success Corps, visit hwww.empowersuccesscorps.org.

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