by Suzanne Huntzinger

The Fishers Maker Playground opened just over a year ago with a primary goal of training new tradespeople and placing them in jobs. Already they’ve put a sizable dent in closing the gap on unfilled jobs in the trades sector. They’ve seen a steady increase in membership from local and surrounding communities and class attendance.

“It’s attracted a lot of woodworkers in the area,” says Nick Snyder, Makerspace Manager, “We anticipated more engineer/makers, but we get more woodworkers interested in learning to use digital woodworking technologies like the CNC router and laser cutter, which is almost always booked.”

Evenings and weekends are bustling with hobbyists and entrepreneurs using the space after their work hours. “The energy level is always high in the evenings and weekends,” Snyder says, “But there’s a lot of opportunity for new members to use the space during the morning and afternoon hours.”

The Maker Playground and Hub & Spoke Institute have partnered with Ivy Tech to develop a trades bootcamp to launch in the coming months. Participants will be exposed to a variety of trades, learn core skills for finish carpentry and installation, and learn soft skills for employability. Participants will also have access to job placement resources and further education.

Programming in this inaugural year has focused primarily on homeowners and hobbyists. They’ve offered a mix of machine-based training (classes on the CNC router and laser cutter), team-building activities for small groups, family activities, and DIY repairs for homeowners. Their “Household Heroes” classes feature everything from drywall patching to toilet repair, making it very popular with homeowners. “It’s a very exciting first true step into trades education,” Snyder explains.

Fishers Makerspace has also leveraged their partnership with Latinas Welding Guild to offer welding and metalworking classes in the space, elevating their programming to focus on more job-related skills. “We hope to funnel students in the Fishers classes to The Guild’s welding certification courses at their downtown location, increasing chances for job placement.”

For more information about the Fishers Maker Playground, visit