The Hocking Makers Network is gearing up for the new year, and wants the community’s help to set goals.

The Hocking Makers Network (HMN) seeks to give the people of Appalachia Ohio a network of Makerspaces and Makers that encourages them to obtain new skills, discover hidden talents or cultivate new hobbies.

The Network is operated by Hocking College, but is not overtly branded as such to help further the goal of appealing to a broader community in Nelsonville and surrounding communities than just students and staff at the college. The hope with the program is to foster entrepreneurs, sending more people through workforce training programs and creating a “pipeline” of new students to Hocking College.

Although the Network is technically a nonprofit, HMN’s website discusses how as a business the goal is to pivot Hocking College classes, resources, events and services to areas that are in most demand. The hope is for this to become a model across “the Midwest and beyond, and continue to cement Hocking College’s innovative practices.”

HMN will host a meet-up from 5:30-7 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020, at the HMN Wood Lab, 17690 Sylvania Ave., Nelsonville, to give community members a chance to help plan the makers network’s goals for the year, suggest future classes and encourage people to volunteer and teach classes.

“We want to hear from people who want to use the network,” Michelle Robinson, director of special projects and community engagement, workforce development at Hocking College, said.

Robinson and other organizers are looking for feedback on HMN’s price structure and classes and be able to showcase classes and machinery and equipment the network offers to the community.

HMN is designed to give residents from the Appalachian regions of Ohio a network of makerspaces that encourages them to obtain new skills and hobbies through the approachable, affordable classes and workshops. The network’s mission is to provide give community members a place to explore avenues for workforce development, higher education, entrepreneurial opportunities or to develop the skills for a new hobby.

A shuttle will be available to take people from the Nelsonville Public Library, 95 W. Washington St., to the HMN Wood Lab at 17690 Sylvania Ave. Since seating on the shuttle is limited, anyone interested in the service should RSVP online at: http://hockingcollege.regfox.com/hocking-makers-network-first-meet-up.

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