This article was originally posted in the Lansing State Journal by Edythe Hatter-Williams.

As a member of the Teach. Talent. Thrive. (T3) board, I’m passionate about positioning Greater Lansing as the exemplary STEAM – science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics – region in America.

According to a recesnt Microsoft Corp. report, STEAM jobs in the U.S. will grow 14 percent by 2020. The need for individuals trained in these careers is not slowing down anytime soon, and we need to do all we can to support this growing need.

The arts are a particularly important, but often overlooked, aspect of STEAM. The arts fuel creativity and spark innovation for individuals who are involved with these careers. Creativity is critical to solve some of the problems our world faces today, and it’s important for individuals to use their imagination and apply creativity in real-life situations. Cultivating creative thinking for employees and students can help generate innovative ideas, and more importantly, solutions.

With the ‘art’ aspect of STEAM such a critical part of our future in Mid-Michigan, it’s key for us to create opportunities to showcase what this process can do. That’s why I’m so excited about the upcoming Lansing Maker Faire on April 29 – April 30. Held at the Meridian Mall, the Lansing Maker Faire will celebrate STEAM here in Mid-Michigan.

The Maker Faire is often referred to the greatest show – and tell – on earth. Makers range from tech enthusiasts to craft-makers to homesteaders to scientists to garage tinkerers. The Maker Faire is a venue for these “makers” to showcase hobbies, experiments and projects.

The first annual Lansing Mini Maker Faire will include:

Hack The Runway: Tech Meets Fashion Showcase: The design challenge will introduce Lansing Maker Faire attendees to talented local fashion designers using cutting edge technology in their designs to create wearable technology.

tinkrLAB Maker Kids Area: Kids will have the opportunity to make, tinker, create and design during the activities. Each participant will also walk away with their completed project to take home, including Toy Hacking, Learn to Solder and more.

Robotics Demonstrations: Join local robotics teams and learn about the First Robot League and VEX IQ robotics, in addition to learning how local teams compete.

Technoart Showcase: The Technoart Showcase will feature laser cut, etched and/or 3D printed art made by local artists.

Robot Prom: A fun after-hours event on Saturday evening, the participating teams will dress up their robots for a small donation. Attendees will receive a quick demonstration and then will take their bot for “spin around the dance floor”. All donations will go directly to the participating schools.

The best part? The Maker Faire is free to all attendees. To learn more about the Lansing Maker Faire, visit: http://lansing.makerfaire.com.

Visit www.camw.org to connect with the Capital Area Michigan Works! team for assistance with career exploration or information about educational opportunities in STEAM. Capital Area Michigan Works!, a proud partner of the American Job Center Network, offers services in Ingham, Clinton and Eaton counties at our Lansing, St. Johns and Charlotte American Job Centers.

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