Maryland Makerspace Initiative Program
Maryland Makerspace Initiative Program
This coming Tuesday, February 15, the Senate Finance Committeein Annapolis will be hearing testimony for SB 453, the Maryland Makerspace Initiative Program. If passed, this legislation would help establish makerspaces throughout the State of Maryland with Open Works serving as a model for their success. You can watch all hearings live! Hearing starts and 1pm, they don’t always go in the order posted ahead of time, so check day of if you’re interested in watching.
Since 2016, 211 small businesses have leveraged our facility to create 118 jobs and $9.9M in statewide annual economic output. We also had thousands of people enroll in our classes, workshops and accelerator programs.
Imagine having five makerspaces like Open Works all around the State of Maryland! That would produce $45M in annual economic impact, $2.25M in annual tax revenues, and 600 jobs through direct employment and startup creation.
Where you come in
If you’re reading this, there’s a pretty good chance you’re already a fan of makerspaces and don’t need us to convince you that more access to the kinds of tools and resources that we provide would benefit Marylanders everywhere.
What we are asking is for you to take just a few minutes to share what you know about Open Works and makerspaces with your elected officials in Annapolis. If you’re not sure who they are, you can use this site to look up who represents your district. It will generate a link for each of your statewide elected officials, including your State Senator and two Delegates.
What to say
You don’t have to be an expert on the economic impact or the workforce development stats to share your experiences with elected officials. Committee hearings are full of important reports and figures, but anyone can share the data. Only you can share your story. If you’re still not sure what to say, ask yourself the following questions:
Are you a member?
Have you taken a class or attended a workshop?
Were you able to expand your creative practice with access to the tools and workshops at Open Works?
Do you run your business from a micro-studio at Open Works?
Do you use the resources here professionally?
Have you participated in one of our small business accelerator programs like Moms as Entrepreneurs or EnterpRISE?
Are you a neighbor, community partner, or supporter who has seen the positive impact of this makerspace on Baltimore?
Do you LOVE Open Works?
If any of these questions apply to you, then you have something valuable to share.
Our Senators and Delegates take notice when they receive a strong community response to a piece of legislation, even when they don’t have time to respond to every constituent email. After all, they work for you, and know that engaged constituents seldom miss a chance to vote!
Be sure to include the bill number or title in the subject line! They get a lot of emails, so the easier we can make it for staffers to organize the overwhelming support they are sure to receive, the better. There is currently only a Senate bill number filed, but we’ll update this page when a House bill number becomes available.
Start off by letting them know that (1) you’re one in their district and (2) you support the bill. a short anecdote about your experience with Open Works. Then share a little bit about your experiences with makerspace. It doesn’t have to be long or profound, just honest. At the bottom of this post you’ll find some sample text you can use as a starting point. Just remember, there are no wrong answers when sharing your opinions with your elected officials!
Social media is a wonderfully effective tool and a very public way to hold our elected officials accountable. One of the advantages to using social media is that, unlike email, which may be monitored by a staffer and is private, when you tag an elected official on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook it’ll go straight to their smartphone and EVERYONE CAN SEE IT. You may be surprised how quickly some of our elected officials will respond to being tagged, even on hearing days.
A few quick tips for social media advocacy
If you’re trying to amplify a message, keep it positive. Elected officials are more likely to engage with content that makes them look good. Highlight the bi-partisan support!
When possible, tag the bill sponsors, there’s a very good chance they’ll engage with your post.
In many cases, Twitter is the platform of choice for lawmakers.
Before and during Tuesday’s hearing in the Senate Finance Committee we’re mounting a social media campaign around this bill. Please feel free to download and share the images in this post using the hashtags #marylandmakers #mdsb453 #moremakerspaces and tag us @OpenWorksBmore (Twitter and Facebook), @open_works_bmore (Instagram), and Open Works Baltimore (LinkedIn).
Sen. Cory V. McCray (D), District 45, Baltimore City
Sen. George C Edwards (R), District 1, Garrett, Allegany, and Washington
Sen. Delores G. Kelley (D), District 10, Baltimore County
Sen. Brian J. Feldman (D), District 15, Montgomery County
Subject line: Support for SB 453, more makerspaces benefit everyone! Or Please support the Maryland Makerspace Initiative!
Dear Senator (or Delegate) ______
My name _______ and I live in the _______ neighborhood of District ____. I am writing in support of Senate Bill 453, the Maryland Makerspace Initiative Program. [From here tell your story. For example:
As an Open Works member, I’ve been able to _________.
In 20__ I started [your business and description] using the tools and resources at Open Works. Since then …
Taking classes at Open Works has help me to _________.
Please support SB 453.
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