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Grant helps expand Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub education efforts

Daniel Breen
Pulaski County Judge Barry Hyde and Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub CEO Errin Stanger pose for photos at the hub's North Little Rock facility on Thursday.

Students in central Arkansas can learn more about science, technology and engineering for free thanks to a new grant.

The Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub at Winrock International announced Thursday it had received a $289,000 grant from Pulaski County. The grant is funded by the county’s allocation from the federal American Rescue Plan.

Innovation Hub CEO Errin Stanger says it will allow them to bring their mobile makerspace to more schools in the county.

“This funding specifically enables us to provide the programming free-of-charge. So if you’re a school located in Pulaski County and you want to book the mobile makerspace, this funding allows us to book that field trip at no cost to the student, no cost to the school, which is a blessing,” Stanger said.

Stanger says the hub’s equipment, like 3-D printers and laser cutting machines, can be brought directly to schools through the mobile makerspace. Pulaski County Judge Barry Hyde says the goal is to increase access to science, technology, engineering, arts and math to more students.

“Especially those in underserved communities, which is significant… we’re literally bringing the resources directly to more than 1,000 students,” Hyde said.

The Innovation Hub’s mobile makerspace program has served 22 counties and over 16,000 students since it first began in 2018.

Daniel Breen is a Little Rock-based reporter, anchor and producer for KUAR.