By Adam Cabrera.
Kyle Nurminen of Total Roofing Systems has an ambitious plan to empower inner-city communities: turning underused buildings into makerspaces and collaborative manufacturing facilities. Recently featured in the latest Roofing Road Trips episode, Kyle shared his unique initiative to foster education and entrepreneurship in underprivileged neighborhoods.
Makerspaces, as Kyle explained, are community centers equipped with tools and resources for a wide variety of projects. These spaces can range from woodworking shops to recording studios, serving as "studio space for business development in the skilled trades," as Kyle described.
Initially Kyle had launched SeedRegion1, a platform aimed at uniting the maker community with local industries by mapping makerspaces, coworking spaces and other institutions. Speaking at Gulf Coast Maker Con back in 2016, Kyle said the site’s purpose was to, “Create a new model for Economic Development... growing the seeds we already have in place rather than bringing them from elsewhere.” While SeedRegion1.com is no longer active, its spirit lives on through Kyle's continued advocacy for collaborative spaces.
Kyle pointed out that many young people in urban areas are already getting exposure to engineering programs and other training, but what they often lack is an environment to apply those skills. "They just lack the opportunity," he said. Turning abandoned spaces into thriving centers could have multiple benefits, from crime reduction to job creation.
“We can revitalize our own neighborhoods affordably for our own future workforces,” Kyle said. “Let's take care of our own. I think that's what we need to start doing.”
As communities grapple with economic challenges, Kyle Nurminen’s model offers a blueprint for grassroots revitalization, fostering a future where opportunity is an accessible reality.
Adam Cabrera is a writer and podcast producer for the Coffee Shops and AskARoofer™. When he isn't writing about roofs he enjoys camping in the Rocky Mountains, going to concerts and playing music.
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