GE Announces Opening of Manufacturing Fab Lab in Chicago

GE (NYSE:GE) and Chicago Ideas Week (CIW) announced GE Garages, a skill-building center that serves as an advanced manufacturing fab lab for technologists, entrepreneurs and makers. Opening on September 20, the GE Garages space will host a month of free hands-on maker workshops, conduct trainings on high-tech prototyping equipment and offer learning opportunities through a curated guest speaker series.

Powered by TechShop and developed in partnership with Skillshare, Quirky, Make and Inventables, GE Garages aims to spark interest and greater participation in advanced manufacturing through making. The GE Garages location will also function as the headquarters for Chicago Ideas Week, a premier annual gathering of global thought leaders and an innovation platform that inspires, connects and activates the city of Chicago and beyond.

Linda Boff, Global Brand Marketing Executive Director, GE said, “The next industrial revolution is occurring all around us, driven by innovations in technology and manufacturing. There’s something for everyone to discover at GE Garages. Within the Midwest, Chicago Ideas Week is a critical driver of this evolution, providing a forum for inventors, manufacturers and innovative entrepreneurs to gather and collaborate.”

GE Garages guest speakers will include Massimo Banzi, co-founder of the Arduino project and an open-source hardware advocate who works with clients such as Prada, Whirlpool and Adidas; Edward Ford, founder of Project ShapeOko; and Zach Kaplan, CEO of Inventables, among many more. Weekly hands-on classes will offer participants access to 3D printers, Arduino kits, CNC mills, a laser cutter, and an injection molder, while workshops will include instruction in how to design digitally manufactured lamps, brilliant homes, “weather clocks,” and other brilliant technologies.

Jessica Malkin, Executive Director, Chicago Ideas Week said “CIW Headquarters will truly be a hub for new ideas and innovation for the city. With free access to some of the most insightful entrepreneurs, data scientists and software and industrial engineers at GE Garages, Chicagoland locals and CIW attendees alike have a unique chance to experience the advanced manufacturing revolution first-hand and take part in Ideas Week.”

Over the past two years, GE has invested heavily in the Chicago area, which hosts many of the company’s businesses, including Transportation’s headquarters, Capital and Health IT, increasing its Chicago-based employees by 33 percent. GE’s operations have also created an economic impact of nearly $3 billion throughout the city over that period of time. GE has also contributed more than $4.5 million annually to the Chicago area through grants, volunteerism, company donations, and employee charitable contributions. Statewide, GE supports one in 385 Illinois jobs and creates an economic impact of $4.45 billion.

Located at 401 N. Michigan Avenue in Chicago, GE Garages will be open to the public from September 20 through October 20, Tuesdays through Sundays.

For a full schedule of workshops, hands-on training and speaker sessions, visit: www.ge.com/garages

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