New coworking space in the works for downtown Okmulgee
(OKMULGEE, Okla.) 71 percent of high school students say their interests influence their career path, but that’s not always enough to find that ultimate career.
During a recent Talk Local event at the Center for Aviation and Advanced Technologies in Okmulgee, Matt McCloud said knew he loved working with computers when he enrolled in college, but found neither electrical and computer engineering nor computer science ended up igniting his true passion.
“It took me a while to find out what it was that I really loved,” McCloud said. “And that was showing people how to do things. How to help them learn to use a computer, learn how to use this technology or this activity. That’s what I love.”
With the average cost of a 4-year degree costing around $122,000 these days, aligning college education with a career you are passionate about is pretty important to long run career satisfaction- and your wallet.
As executive director of MOD Expanse, a new startup facility coming to downtown Okmulgee, McCloud is following his career passion and helping others do the same.
MOD Expanse will be three concepts under one roof: a 2,000-square-foot fabrication lab, a 7,500-square-foot makerspace, and a 7,500-square-foot shared workspace.
“What we need is something that has a little bit of everything for what this community needs,” McCloud said. “And I feel like having those three spaces together could really accomplish that.”
The fabrication lab will offer equipment like 3D printers, kiln, woodworking, injection molding, and machining for students and other community members to build and work.
The makerspace will offer a safe, supervised location for people of all ages to work with electronics, Arduinos (to build electronics), Raspberry PIs (to explore computing), build kits and other hobbies.
“I found out this was something that Okmulgee really wants to have here,” McCloud said. “There had actually been a group that had tried to bring a makerspace. Found out that there was all this interest in it but needed someone to drive it home. To finish it. To get it to fruition. I would love to be that person who does that for this community.”
The shared workspace will offer offices, workspaces, and conference rooms for community use.
“I want success for this area,” McCloud said. “Not only do we want to encourage the youth that are here to learn and grow and excel, but we want a place where the adults can as well. That’s what a shared workspace is going to bring here. More opportunities for small businesses to be able to perform like a larger company.”
McCloud said access to the fabrication lab and shared workspace will be offered through hourly rates and paid memberships. He said all the profits from those two spaces will fund makerspace activities, like rocket kits, robotics kits, e-gaming computers, and table games.
The makerspace will also be available through day passes and paid memberships.
McCloud said MOD Expanse is a non-profit organization currently pending 501c3 status that will seek out additional funding through grants and donations.
Green Country Technology Center Business Development Specialist Margaret Hess said the new space will be a welcome addition to other local area growth and evolution over the past decade.
“We are becoming a model for other rural communities throughout the country to see what happens when a group of like-minded community members come together with ideas and work collaboratively,” Hess said.
Hess also thanked public school systems throughout the county for laying the groundwork focus on STEM and STEAM.
Pricing to access MOD Expanse and its specific location downtown are still being determined.
Great story !!