When she began her NextMakerz journey, Morgan was very excited about the program even though she realized she had no experience in electronics at all.
“I’m certainly glad I took the classes I took because I learned to do something in an area I really knew nothing about coming in,” said Morgan.
The NextMakerz program was made for beginners. Whether it be for someone who wants to take their new skills to the next level, or someone who just wants to make a hobby out of it.
Regardless of what side of the tech fence you’re on, the Creative District and Nextfab want to provide an opportunity for anyone ages 16 to 24 the opportunity to try out a new possible career path, learn some new skills and play with some new tech.
“Yeah, it’s been a great opportunity,” said Morgan. “I’ve learned a lot about new things that I’ve never done before. Tech classes, woodshop…I even did a metalwork class in South Philly.”
Morgan explained that she got the most out of the program when she began taking the elective classes that were offered to participants. These classes included laser cutting, extra woodworking classes and, as Morgan mentioned earlier, a metalwork class in the South Philadelphia NextFab location.
“I actually really enjoyed the electives, she said. “Woodworking was a lot of fun. I liked learning how to use the joiner and the planer. I made some neat things that by cutting wood in different angles and it was interesting.”
The Nextmakerz program is all about exploring new possibilities so it was purpose-built to give participants the option to choose some new things to try out. Though it can seem intimidating, learning to use the equipment in the woodshop or learning to work with metal is not as difficult and daunting as you might think.
“It was very hands-on,” said Morgan. “You really get a chance to play around with the tools that same day. They teach you how to use it properly and then they give you a project to finish on your own. I got to experience the bandsaw, the sanders, stuff I’ve never even touched before.”
The previously mentioned metalworking class was a crazy new experience, said Morgan.
“The metalworking was fun,” she said. It’s not like woodworking where you can make mistakes. Metalworking is very precise. But the instructor was very encouraging and helpful. By the end of the class, I had made myself a bottle opener.”
Morgan even tried her hand at using the vinyl cutter and printer, making stickers for her everyday needs.
“I am very ‘type-A’ and it just made sense for me to make some stickers for my planner,” she said. “Something to make my planner fun.
In the end, Morgan said she enjoyed the opportunity the most because it gave her chance to learn more about what Wilmington and the Creative District has to offer.
“I joined because I saw the opportunity on Instagram and it seemed like something that was very community-based and that’s what I wanted to do. Get involved in the new community that I moved to. But it is also great to see that this community has so much to offer the people who live here. There’s something for young people to do.”
She explains that by having opportunities for newcomers, specifically young professionals or even younger, a base is created from which you can continue to grow.
“I come from a college town, and there are opportunities for students to do things, but not for other members of the community who might also want to try something different. So it’s huge to have that option after you’re no longer a student and have access to that but more importantly, it’s huge for someone who never had the chance to take classes in something like this before.”