‘The Forge’ Set to Give Innovators, Entrepreneurs Space to Excel

The facility will give students another outlet for those interested in engineering and manufacturing fields.

GRAND RAPIDS, Minn. — The Itasca Economic Development Corporation has received over one million dollars in grants to turn one of their multi-use buildings they have owned since 2005 into what they are calling ‘The Forge.’

“The Forge will provide an opportunity for entrepreneur innovators as well as education training and workforce development all in the same roof,” Itasca Economic Development Corporation President, Tamara Lowney says.

The nearly 17,000 square-foot facility will soon undergo renovations allowing for it to become a maker space as well as an incubator space.

“As an innovator, you can come and access space to develop your prototype. Utilize equipment such as welding or CnC machines and really tap into equipment you wouldn’t have access to that early in your development,” Lowney says.

Giving students another outlet for those interested in engineering and manufacturing fields.

“Really get a sense of what it’s like to work in that career field, understand and build an identity. But really bring a spot to where we are all coming together in that experience. Not isolated in a high school, the college, or out at companies,” Itasca Community College Provost, Bart Johnson says.

Serving both students, the community, and the workforce in the region.

The hope is that The Forge becomes an opportunity for students to grow their passions.

“Really helping to diversify our economy. To me, this is a great spot of bringing that all together and really bringing trying to get that connection between the students and the business community,” Johnson says.

Not only college students, but high school students to start to realize their future whether that’s an innovator or an entrepreneur

“We believe in innovators and entrepreneurs and we believe Itsaca county and our region can be a home for that. Were people can come and find resources without having to live in large metro areas,” Lowney says.

The facility will be open in early 2022.

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