Youth Programs

The Foundry partners with schools and community agencies to provide after school programming. 

Current Programming:


MakeIt Program - Career Exploration

  1. Description of the program: The Foundry has been offering hands-on learning for after school programs since its inception in 2013. The Make It Program was born out of the recognition that many youth need interactive exploratory activities which allow them to experiment with what they like to do and what they might consider as possible career options in the future. The Make It Program offers multiple sessions throughout the year where students can select from different career opportunities to explore. The career options are rooted in design and advanced manufacturing, woodworking, metalworking, screenprinting and maker-based technologies.

  2. Current Partners: Boys and Girls Club (6th-8th), Health Sciences Charter School (9th-12th), and Baker Victory Services (ages 14-21).

  3. Program Needs: Depending on the structure of the program, funding ranges between $2500 and $10000 per program per year. Paid for by individual donors, grants, after school funds, etc.

  4. Outcomes: Students discover new interests, explore possible career pathways, and are guided to seek additional training.

  5. Growth: We are looking to build partnerships with other k-12+ educational organizations to broaden support. If you are a teacher, administrator, or program director please reach out!


M4C (MakeIt For Community)

  1. Description of the program: MakeIt for Community is a version of our MakeIt Program that allows students to explore different skillsets and career pathways while making community-based projects. Past projects include benches, a trellis and a giant Adirondack chair for the Outer Harbor, little libraries, blue Buffalo bike racks, garbage receptacles for Grant St, signs for community gardens, etc.

  2. Current Partners: Boys and Girls Club, Baker Victory Services and YouthBuild. This program has several partners, and each program session is funded separately. How often we offer this depends on the requests and needs for projects within the community.

  3. Funding Needs:  The Foundry needs to cover the cost of an instructor, use of our facilities and admin time for coordinating with clients, picking up materials, etc. Typically the other partner program covers the cost of their supervisor and transportation for the students, though sometimes we co-apply for funding. We currently have support from Councilmember Pridgen for materials costs for Ellicott district related community projects.

  4. Outcomes: Students discover new possible career pathways and are guided to seek additional training. They identify their potential and increase their self-esteem by giving back to the community.

  5. Growth: Not only can The Foundry make small items such as benches, we have the potential to build larger structures such as arbors, green roofs, community structures and tiny houses. Good examples of other programs that do large scale community build projects: Yestermorrow Design/Build School and Rural Studio. We are looking to grow in that direction in the next few years.


Experiential Learning - Day Program


  1. Description of the program: Our day programs consist of getting students out of the classroom and into the studio or lab to expose them to real-life opportunities for skills development. We work with students to make community-based projects. This past year we made a 4x10 ft outdoor structure will metal sculptural panels and a green roof for TriMain. This year we are making bike racks and outdoor tables at the Northland Corridor project. We celebrate all building projects with a ribbon-cutting event so the students celebrate their success and are congratulated on the hard work they’ve achieved.

  2. Current Partners: Baker Victory Services through students enrolled at Baker Hall. Students that attend this program are cleared for experiential learning outside of the classroom as part of their formal school education.

  3. Program Needs: We need sponsors and/or community sites to build projects. Application process for projects start in late spring for the following year.

  4. Outcomes: Students discover new possible career pathways and are guided to seek additional training. They identify their potential and increase their self-esteem by giving back to the community. Provide high quality student work, allowing for more interesting, creative public projects.

  5. Growth: Currently is with one program/one class, once weekly. Looking to expand to twice weekly and engage multiple classes/multiple set of students. Will need additional community projects to work on.


Job Shadows

The Foundry has hosted job shadows for middle-high school age students which allows them to peer into the life of our small business owners and understand the skills and education necessary to run their own shops.


In 2016, The Foundry hosted 11 tours for elementary, middle and high school students. Schedule one with us today by emailing

Our Current Partners:

Health Sciences Charter School (9-12th grade)

Boys & Girls Club (usually 6th-8th grade)

The WAY to Life Program- Baker Victory Services (ages 14-21)

Baker Victory Services - Baker Hall (ages 14-17)

WNY YouthBuild (ages 16-24)

If you have a community project such as benches or raised beds for a community garden, public art, etc. please contact us to coordinate this special learning opportunity! E-mail:



FoundryMade -  Entrepreneurship Program

  1. Description of the program: In addition to offering a space for youth education, The Foundry is also a business incubator. We’d like to combine our mission of education and entrepreneurship to provide opportunities for self-employment for low-income young people. We envision students attending skill-building and business classes to learn if they are interested in self-employment. We will create a for-profit entity managed by The Foundry where students would be employed to manufacture and sell FoundryMade products and services. Eventually, they would either become managers and teachers within this business, or they would spin-off and create businesses of their own. Examples of products and services include cutting boards, awards, customized plaques, CNC routing and laser engraving services, etc.

  2. Current Partners: This program is currently not in operation, however, Both Baker Victory Services and YouthBuild have committed to collaborating with us on this project. They serve low-income youth ages 17-24. We have spoken with other training programs who would also be interested in providing students to participate.

  3. Funding/Start-up Needs: In order to get this program running successfully, we will need funding for curriculum development and a 2 yr pilot program. In addition, we need pro-bono assistance from lawyers and accountants to start a for-profit business that would be ready to accept students who graduate from the skills building and business program. Curriculum development would be done by our Education Director. The 2 year pilot program would engage multiple instructors as well as a full-time program manager. Our estimate to get this program up and running successfully would be $50k for the first year, $25k for the second year.

  4. Outcomes: Students discover new possible career pathways and have the potential to secure regular employment. This has major potential for economic development impact. At the completion of the program, students understand what it takes to run all aspects of business and whether or not they are interested in being employed or self-employed.

  5. Sustainability: This program has the opportunity to be fully sustainable and to promote economic sustainability for low-income populations. The profits from this program would pay participants as well as fund the on-going health of the participating organizations.


The Foundry Classroom - Professional Development for Educators

  1. Description of the program: Connecting teachers to professional development in STEAM fields for application in the classroom. The Foundry will offer training and provide access to teaching tools,  Materials for purchase  may include robotics kits, coding kits, woodworking kits, 3D printing, etc. which might not otherwise be available for building new expertise in a school setting.

  2. Current Partners: This program is currently not in operation, however we have preliminary partnerships with tech education company,, and WNYSTEM Hub.

  3. Funding/Start-up Needs: In order to get this program running successfully, we will need funding for curriculum development and for kit materials. We would receive ongoing funding from the schools and/or individual educators to cover the cost of our instructors and facilities. We estimate that a pilot project to use one set of kits with instructional programming would cost $4,000 - 7,500.

  4. Outcomes: Teachers will understand how emerging technology can be applied in their classrooms. A continuous resource for teachers will be built creating a community for questions and support so that they can increase their skill in implementing these new activities. Students will benefit by having access to this integrated knowledge and to STEAM throughout their schools.

  5. Sustainability: This program uses money from teacher’s professional development funds and school funds. For those who cannot afford to access these services or the educational programming to support these emerging areas,