ALLEN PARK — TechShop, the California-based maker’s paradise that also has a location in a former Ford Motor Co. shop in Allen Park, announced Friday that it would offer 3,000 one-year memberships free to veterans at its six nationwide locations.

General Electric and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Center for Innovation are helping with the effort.

Organizers say the effort is meant to help solve three problems — in 2012, more than 20 percent of veterans 18-24 were unemployed; only 34 percent of veterans are confident about finding work that suits them; and more than 600,000 manufacturing jobs are unfilled in the United States.

Together, the organizations are partnering to help America’s veterans gain new skills to become more competitive in the job market or to learn the entrepreneurial skills to start a new business in their own communities by providing 3,000 free one-year TechShop memberships to veterans.

An ideal environment for the program, each of the six TechShop locations include more than $1 million worth of tools, equipment, machinery and software, and offer classes on how to use them. TechShop is the birthplace of the prototypes of Square, underwater submarine robots, bipedal robot legs and many other inventions.

With the partnership, veterans get training on rapid prototyping tools (such as 3D printers) and gain skills to design, prototype and manufacture a wide array of items. The program provides an opportunity to learn the design-and-build process of developing an idea and potentially starting a business.

TechShop Allen Park has also scheduled a “Thank You Veterans” event for June 27. More at


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