Allentown Economic Development Corporation is pleased to announce it has received a $50,000 grant from the PPL Foundation. The funds will support the renovation of a STEAM education makerspace inside the organization’s business incubator, the Bridgeworks Enterprise Center.

The Project

The space to be renovated is occupied by Make Lehigh Valley, a nonprofit providing local students, and adults with technical, scientific, and artistic skills. The 3,420 square foot unit undergoing renovation is the only space inside the 60,000 square foot Bridgeworks Enterprise Center that has not been renovated since AEDC redeveloped the building in 1989.

The PPL Foundation grant was originally awarded at the end of 2019. The onset of COVID-19 restrictions delayed permitting and construction jobs in early 2020. Project renovation began during the summer of 2020 once permits were in place and the tenant moved equipment out. Significant demolition and construction work has been made, with the remaining work expected to be completed soon. 

AEDC's Unger (left) & Hudson (right) with J. George, PPL

PPL Made it Possible 

Upon completion, the space will be divided into two separate units to increase functionality. AEDC will continue to lease approximately 50% of the space to Make Lehigh Valley to support on-going STEAM educational programming. The other roughly 50% of the space will be leased as Flex Office Space. The renovated space includes upgraded electrical service to enable more extensive tools and equipment and a new HVAC system to allow for more comfortable temperature control.

“The renovations will greatly expand the utility of our makerspace. Members and guests will be much more inclined to participate in projects and activities once the work is complete,” says Make Lehigh Valley Board President Scott Piccotti.

AEDC’s Executive Director, R. Scott Unger, is also optimistic about the opportunity created by the PPL grant. “We appreciate the continued support of AEDC’s mission by the PPL Foundation,” said Unger. “PPL understands the important role that economic development organizations play in supporting STEAM education and the manufacturing sector. By optimizing the makerspace inside the Bridgeworks facility, we can assist Make Lehigh Valley and other nonprofits address the STEAM skills gap.”

The Process

 

The PPL Foundation awards annual grants through an application and review process. In 2019, PPL Foundation received more than 100 applications during the highly competitive grant cycle. At the end of 2019, the Foundation awarded $575,000 to nonprofits throughout Central and Eastern Pennsylvania, with missions focused on improving community members’ lives. Allentown Economic Development Corporation was one of 13 organizations selected for a grant supporting local innovative programs. 

“We are continuously inspired by the caring, commitment, and creativity of the many nonprofit organizations such as Allentown Economic Development Corporation who make a lasting difference in our communities, and the 2019 grant recipients were no exception. We’re proud to support their efforts,” said Ryan Hill, PPL Foundation president.

About the PPL Foundation

Through strategic partnerships, the PPL Foundation promotes the development of sustainable communities and supports children’s success from cradle to career. The PPL Foundation contributes more than $3 million annually to a wide variety of nonprofit organizations. For more information, visit www.pplcares.com.

Erin Hudson

For information,contact AEDC's Marketing & Communications Specialist: ehudson@allentownedc.com or 484-368-6854.