The Northampton Community College (NCC) Fab Lab won the Community Partner Award from the Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce. The award will be presented at the Bethlehem Chamber Annual Awards Virtual Reception on Wednesday, June 2.  

The Bethlehem Chamber is honoring those they call “Hometown Heroes” who helped the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. When news that health care workers were forced into wearing scarves and bandanas due to a shortage of masks, the Fab Lab sprang into action last spring. During the Covid-19 health crisis, they became a production shop for masks, with Fab Lab volunteers and NCC faculty and staff preparing 13, 816 masks.  

“I am very honored for NCC and the Fab Lab to be awarded this achievement. I believe this award stands for everything we strive to be, a resource for our community that promotes innovation and creativity. When we first heard about the mask shortage, our first thoughts were how can we help with our resources. Innovation and creativity were key in our three-person production line. Anything is achievable, the more we work and stand together as a community,” says Fab Lab Director Sean Brandle. 

The Fab Lab is an open access space to state-of-the-art technologies ranging from a full metal and woodshop, spray booth, 3D printers, laser cutters, a Sound Lab, guitar-making and repair studio, cold casting and more. Community members are invited to come in and prototype new product ideas, improve on existing ones or crafting for fun, all with the tools and intellectual resources needed to dream, design, and create. Classes are also offered to teach new skills and build on existing ones.