Hub & Spoke founder David Decker envisioned a unique, innovative space that would help “both children and adults find their purpose and passion in life.” The 94,000 square foot, master-planned space includes a Design Center, Coworking space, and a cutting-edge Makerspace with community workshop, innovation lab, and art studio. David says, “Students and adults will be able to come in, discover, explore, innovate. If you can dream it, you’re going to be able to build it.” 

As industry professionals, we’re dreaming of a world in which the trades thrive and are fully stocked with the best and brightest minds. And we’re going to build it, together.  

Nontraditional Solutions for Nontraditional Learners 

The trades have proven themselves as even more relevant, vital, and essential than ever. But the reality is that we do not have the people we need to fill critical roles. In the face of disappearing shop classes, a generations-old “Bachelor’s or Bust” mindset, and a de-emphasis and devaluation of the trades, it’s no wonder that 72% of Indiana contractors are struggling to find skilled employees. The labor shortage is nothing new, but Hub & Spoke is taking a new approach to workforce development. 

Decker says, “I’ve talked a little bit about not having a college degree. I’m big into education but also believe we need some educational reform, especially for nontraditional learners. The way I like to look at it is you can come into Hub & Spoke, learn all these skills, and as you figure out what you’re passionate about, you can apply them to that career choice for your purpose-driven life.”  

Hub & Spoke puts the trades on the table as a viable option for a challenging, rewarding, and well-paying career. With partners like Hamilton Southeastern Schools (HSE), it also literally puts tools in the hands of people who may never have thought that this path was open, available, or right for them. From the smallest makers – who often have the biggest ideas! – to adults who want to explore new possibilities, this is a learning environment without boundaries.  

Creating a Pipeline of Talent 

Scott Fadness, Mayor of the City of Fishers, says, “Creating this pipeline for workforce development and exploration of one’s purpose through Hub & Spoke is very exciting for our young folks moving forward.” Mayor Fadness also remarks on the impact of the caliber of the space’s design. “When someone’s going in to find their purpose, the ability to do that in that environment is inspirational.”  

Makers can create magic with the simplest of materials and supplies – but it sure helps build that better future we envision when our community can access 3D printers, laser cutter, robots, welding equipment, full woodshop, CNC routers, and more in a welcoming, collaborative, learner-centric, exploration-based space. 

Start Them Young – or Older: Just Start Them 

The solution to labor shortages is not a solution. Rather, it is a multitude of solutions from leaders in education (from primary to post-secondary), private industry, and the community. The Hub & Spoke Entremaker Academy is a groundbreaking workforce development ecosystem that brings these stakeholders together in order to effect positive, sustainable change in our industry. (Read more on Entremaker here.) 

The key to a healthy ecosystem is interaction and cooperation between partners – as well as the desire to ensure the whole survives and thrives. This is what Hub & Spoke strives to do; it is the mission and model on which it is built. Solving our major challenges and engaging people in the trades requires (1) access to space, tools, and teachers and (2) fuel to feed the fire and passion within folks. This is where the magic happens. This is where we make 

Jennifer Suskovich, HSE Maker Playground Teacher-in-Residence, captures this idea perfectly. She says, “The one aspect I really hit hard on is grit. I tell kids: if you come across a problem anywhere in life, you can say, ‘I can’t do this. It’s too hard; I give up,’ or you can have the growth mindset of ‘I can figure this out; I can solve this.’” 

As adults, we could all stand to hear this too! When it comes to workforce development and other pressing issues staring us in the face, we can figure it out. We can solve it. We can start now, here, to do it. 

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