Innovation Centers Spark Ideas in Cuyahoga County

Blog post by Kara Copeland, Program Officer, The Cleveland Foundation

Last month, I was honored to represent the Cleveland Foundation for the opening of the Cuyahoga County’s Public Library’s (CCPL) first Innovation Center located within the Garfield Heights Library Branch. The Cleveland Foundation has partnered with the CCPL for some time to increase community access to library resources, often around youth programing, and high quality homework support and academic tutoring.

In 2013, we launched our Encore Cleveland initiative to channel the time, energy and talents of experienced Clevelanders into solving community challenges and filling unmet needs. CCPL has been an important partner in Encore through two unique programs:

  • The first works to recruit and deploy experienced Clevelanders to tutor young people in the field of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math)
  • The second is a series of Encore Entrepreneurs workshops which are helping people over 50 plan around starting a business or developing a product.

The Encore Entrepreneurs program has seen tremendous demand and is currently offered within 10 library branches with waiting lists at most locations.

As an extension to the Encore Entrepreneurs program (and with funding from the Cleveland Foundation and Cuyahoga County), the Garfield Heights Library Branch opened CCPL’s first Innovation Center on February 12.

Similar centers will open soon at the Mayfield and Parma Snow branches. These Innovation Centers are creative, collaborative and educational spaces that provide free access to advanced software, emerging technologies, production studios and co-working spaces.

Cuyahoga County residents of all ages will now have access to a 3-D printers, laser engravers, vinyl cutters- even embroidery machines – all meant to eliminate barriers and spark innovation as residents turn promising ideas into successful businesses.  

The Cleveland Foundation is proud to be a partner in the work of the CCPL. Stay tuned for more news on Encore Cleveland, Innovation Centers, and Cuyahoga County libraries.

Photo © Cleveland Foundation, Visitors at the opening of Cuyahoga County Public Library’s first Innovation Center in Garfield Heights.