HONESDALE, WAYNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Hidden away in Honesdale is a building where those passionate about technology can come together and innovate. The Stourbridge Project is a co-working space, business incubator and prototyping lab. Susan Schaffer, the director of the Stourbridge project, says that the mission of the project is to grow technology jobs in Wayne County.
“When we looked at the Wayne county profile, for occupations and businesses, it was very clear to see that technology companies are not prevalent and we need to increase that. That’s important because they tend to be higher paying jobs which creates more opportunity and more money moving within our local economy,” she said.
One way the project does that is by inspiring the community through classes. The Stourbridge Project also houses a 3-D printer, a laser cutter, and a ShopBot available to use.
“It teaches the individual how to take a design file, use electronics, use 3-D printed parts that were made here in the building, and then have a product in the end that is usable. So we’re able then to have a complete product development process with the participants of the program,” she said.
Yesterday, the Stourbridge Project held a class on how to build a solar-powered charger for small electronics. Tony Komar, an instructor for the project, says learning about solar power is especially prevalent in this day and age.
“You know when I was growing up it was typical to do a DC battery circuit. That was typical electronics. Well now a days they should have the equivalent. And the equivalent is a solar charger. Everybody has little battery packs that they use to charge their cellphones with,” he said.
The solar-powered charger only takes about between two and three hours to make. Komar says with smaller projects, kids get a better idea of the tech they use everyday.
“It’s all the basic parts of your home solar system but done with very low voltages, and very easy to use, and something they can have fun building,” he said.
“We align the classes to teach the skills and develop the interests of people in the community to then become either tech workers or company – I should say entrepreneurs,” Susan Schaffer said.
The Stourbridge Project holds classes all year long. The building is open weekdays from 8:30 AM to 6 PM for the general public, and 24/7 access is available to members. You can find out more here.