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Rhode Island


Liberating the Maker, Inspiring Youth

Make, Learn, Do. CTS helped build the community-based FabNewport, a program that provides alternative pathways to STEAM education for students through expert mentoring and hands-on programs that's building a sustainable talent pipeline for smart fabrics in Rhode Island.

Preparing Students for Success

A group of us noticed that no mentor or internship programs existed for local students to learn our local industry. We started filling up buses with students, sending them to local businesses and manufacturing facilities to expose them to these available career pathways.


growth in demand for textile workers

The Challenge

The Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI) projected that with developments in the smart and interactive fabrics market, the industry would grow to 3.1 billion workers this year, representing a growth rate of 18 percent a year. While this may seem like rapid growth, experts say that this growth is not enough to support demand.

Coated Technical Solutions (CTS) and others in the international advanced textiles and specialty fabrics marketplace are seeking solutions that will feed the pipeline of workers needed to drive the smart fabrics market into the future.

The Solution

CTS has partnered with the Rhode Island Department of Education and other local nonprofit organizations to support a program called FabNewport, which gives students as young as third grade access to learn in-demand skills as basic as sewing and as advanced as integrating interactive capabilities into fabric products using coding and electronics.

With a tagline of “Make, Learn, Do,” this community-based program provides alternative pathways to science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) education through expert mentoring and hands-on activities. With a schedule flexible enough to accommodate all ages of learners, this Rhode Island community is building technical skills and talent for an under-supplied smart fabric industry, while cultivating the personal attributes required for success in life, like grit, self control, empathy, problem solving, and resilience.

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