Nonprofit to train workers for future of manufacturing

The Bay Area’s growing manufacturing sector is often portrayed as the region’s last best chance to bring back some of the well-paying, blue-collar jobs that have been disappearing for decades.

But entrepreneurs at the forefront of the so-called “modern maker” movement — nimble boutique companies crafting everything from robots and drones to custom eyeglasses and backpacks — say there is a problem with this vision: a lack of workers trained in the necessary skills.
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While nonprofits train low-income Bay Area residents for jobs in fields like health care, construction and tech support, these leaders say, there’s no similar forum to become proficient with the tools of today’s makers: computer-controlled lathes and mills, laser cutters, injection molding machines, 3-D printers.

Seeking to fill this need, Ryan Spurlock started the San Francisco nonprofit Humanmade, part of a planned project at 1 De Haro, a 130,000-square-foot development at a former gravel operation on the edge of Showplace Square.

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