Friday, May 27, 2011

I.W.I. signs $55K in contracts with Hallmark on LEaPLab development, training

Hallmark Cards, Inc., 2501 McGee, site of the new LEaPLab.

Last week, the MCC Institute for Workforce Innovation (I.W.I.) signed over $55,000 in contracts with Hallmark Cards, Inc., to assist them in developing their new Learning Exploration and Prototyping or LEaPLab, a fabrication laboratory similar to MCC’s FabLab at the Business & Technology campus.

The LEaPLab will eventually be open to all Hallmark employees to test new product ideas. Like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s FabLab concept, it follows a business model of prototype development rather than a learning model.

The partnership grew out of mutual interest: MCC was serving on an advisory group with Hallmark at the Kauffman Foundation regarding similar fabrication and prototyping laboratories, and eventually, Hallmark proposed that MCC partner with them the project.

Development of the on-site lab at Hallmark Corporate Headquarters began the day after the contracts were signed. Existing space will be renovated at Hallmark at 2501 McGee with a target completion date of August 1. MCC consulting services include design and layout of the lab. Once the lab is operational, I.W.I. will train the first eight classes consisting of over 90 Hallmark employees on how to use the lab’s equipment. I.W.I. will also create the initial training materials, including job aids, videos, and lesson plans.

MCC has a long-standing relationship with Hallmark—before I.W.I., Business & Learning Solutions had been doing business with Hallmark for over twenty years, and looks forward to the opportunities that will arise from this exciting new project. Hallmark has plans already in place to expand the LEaPLab, and as new equipment is installed, additional training will be needed. Hallmark has also expressed interest in creating internships for MCC students.

The partnership that resulted in the design and training contracts were the result of a major group effort. Hallmark staff included Ron Green, Government Resource Programs Manager; and Scott Browning, 3D Interactive/Creative Technology Manager. From MCC, I.W.I. staff included Steve Dowell, FabLab project coordinator; Pat Lees, project manager; John Littleton, performance consultant manager; Stan Fields, business development manager; Mark Murtha, media services; Dr. Kevin Kelley, director of community development; and Margaret Boyd, executive director of I.W.I.

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