Earlier this month we reported that U.S. Representative Bill Foster (IL-11) was close to introducing the National Fab Lab Network Act of 2013 (NFLN). Well, just minutes ago I received an email from Foster’s office announcing that the bill is now being introduced, and with bipartisan support from 15 original co-sponsors including Rep. Randy Hultgren (IL-14), Rep. Tom Massie (KY- 4), Rep. Chris Van Hollen (MD-08) and others.
The beauty of the NFLN Act is that it won’t rely upon taxpayer dollars. Instead, it would enable the new federally-chartered non-profit organization to serve as a central seed funding source for fab labs across the country. The NFLN will raise its own funds and help participants in the network start new Fab Labs. The nonprofit entity would maintain a chartered status that is similar to the status enjoyed by the VFW and Little League Baseball. The goal of the network will be to establish at least one Fab Lab for every 700,000 people. A quick calc shows that would be about 450 Fab Labs across the country.
Foster comments, “We have a great tradition of innovation in manufacturing in America. With a national network of Fab Labs we can empower and inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators. These labs help students build the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) skills they need to succeed in today’s global economy…As a manufacturer, businessman and a scientist I believe it’s critical that we provide the next generation with the skills to succeed in engineering and manufacturing and build the next generation of products, businesses and industries.”
You can read the full bill here.
As with all bills, it needs your support. Contact your representative and let him or her know you would like them to support it.