By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Apr 19, 2017 at 8:32 AM

This morning, MPS will unveil its new "Fab Lab," a digital fabrication facility, at Washington High School of Information Technology, 2525 N. Sherman Blvd.

The lab was funded with a $25,000 grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), and will include two vinyl cutters, a trio of three-dimensional printers, a 3-D scanner, a computer numerical control mill, a laser engraver and the computers to make them hum.

The goal of the workshop is to familiarize students to the kind of high-tech gear that facilitates innovation and creative thinking. In the lab, students can turn their ideas into three-dimensional models.

In February, Washington's principal at the time visited some Fab Labs at three rural schools in the Northwoods to get a first-hand view of what the school could expect from its new workshop.

"Incorporating Fab Labs into educational programs of study has been shown to increase student engagement by providing hands-on opportunities to solve real world problems," notes an MPS press release.

"In Fab Labs, students learn because they want to, they develop technical skill that builds pride in mastery, improves teamwork, teaches critical thinking, persistence and other 21st century employability skills. MPS plans to create more Fab Labs within the district."

Last month, Washington hosted an iFair to introduce students and their families to careers in information technology and engineering.

In the same spirit, the district has also launched an apprenticeship program that works to give high school students real-life, hands-on work experience that allows them to "test drive" potential careers and that they can, hopefully, then parlay into jobs upon graduation.

WUWM’s Rachel Morello did a story on that program this morning. Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service also wrote about it late last year.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.