We are announcing an exciting partnership with the New York Public Library TechConnect program to develop an open source curriculum for libraries and other public institutions to teach 3D modeling, printing and digital entrepreneurship skills. Below is our press release about the course. We will be keeping you updated on the progress as we make the program available:

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In response to the White House call to action for National Week of Making (June 17-23), encouraging organizations to empower a nation of inventors and entrepreneurs by providing access to technology, Shapeways EDU and the The New York Public Library’s TechConnect Program today announced a partnership to introduce creative minded patrons of the New York Public Library to the entrepreneurial side of 3D modeling and printing technology through a free, open source curriculum. Among the many goals is to educate the public so they can further engage in the current digital era and become entrepreneurs of their own 3D creations. The collaboration will kick off in the fall with a pilot program offering multiple courses over a ten-week period.

Pete Weijmarshausen, CEO and Founder of Shapeways, stated, “Shapeways’ platform enables everyone to make amazing products using 3D printing. We know many people are eager and inspired to learn more and unleash the power of digital manufacturing. The New York Public Library is the perfect partner for us to develop public access education to bring our mission to life well beyond any individual workshop.” Shapeways is the world’s leading 3D printing service and marketplace for consumers and the only company giving the general public access to commercial grade printing.

“We’re thrilled to be working with Shapeways,” said Brandy McNeil, Associate Director of Technology Education & Training, New York Public Library. “This collaboration will allow the New York Public Library to provide our visitors with an opportunity to leverage the power of 3D printing by learning, creating and gaining access to a fascinating technology that can empower entrepreneurs who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to do so.”

In addition to developing the curriculum for the pilot program for the general public, the New York Public Library and Shapeways are developing a comprehensive, turnkey curriculum for the library’s tech education staff, enabling them to offer courses as often as demand warrants without being dependent “We worked closely with the library’s education staff,” said Lauren Slowik, Shapeways Education and Design Evangelist. “The courses will focus on three unique topics including entrepreneurship and how to sell your creations, advanced manufacturing design software and 3D printing in different materials. Armed with this knowledge, more people can now turn their creative ideas into something real.”

Shapeways and the New York Public Library are committed to a long-term plan for the entire country. Following the pilot program, they will offer library staff complete access to courses to train their own teachers. They will also develop additional course materials and publish the curriculum under an open source license so that any public library or institution across the country can offer the program to their patrons. “By removing the actual printing function from the libraries’ responsibility, they are no longer limiting a patron’s creativity with desktop 3D printers that only print in one material or color, or printing that takes too long for each object to get done and often require ongoing mechanical attention,” added Lauren.

To find out more about the National Week of Making, go to weekofmaking.pif.gov, or follow them on Twitter at @NationOfMakers hashtag #NationofMakers.