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Make48 Challenges YouTube Maker Stars to Invent for Autism Speaks

By September 14, 2020General

Adapting its typical in-person format, the fast-paced invention competition Make48 is launching a new virtual series that will challenge some of YouTube’s biggest maker stars and help charities along the way. 

In partnership with WORKBENCHcon, Autism Speaks and Stanley Black & Decker, Make48’s new YouTube Maker Showcase will challenge two prominent inventors to collaborate on a project that will not only raise awareness for charities but also support their missions by donating the completed build.  

With millions of YouTube views, the participating makers will use their amazing talents, the best tools, and the latest technology to finish their projects in two days.

There will be a total of three virtual shows in the series, the first of which will begin in October


“We’re so excited to bring together some of the world’s most talented makers who are simply doing good for some very deserving charities and people,” said Tom Gray, CEO of Make48. “We hope that this series will inspire others to use their hands and creativity to do something good for others. Viewers will get a behind the scenes look at the makers’ workshops and watch some interesting projects being built. It should be fun to watch and we’re thrilled to bring the excitement of our 48-hour competitions to talented makers who are up for a challenge.”

In its October challenge, Make48 is pairing up creators Izzy Swan and Meghan Baker to raise awareness for Stanley Black & Decker and Autism Speaks’ collaborative efforts to create manufacturing job opportunities for people with autism.

The makers will be challenged to build a personal relaxation retreat for autistic individuals who may experience sensory differences, like having over- or under-sensitivities to sounds, lights, touch, tastes, smells, pain and other stimuli. This movable fixture, meant to live in a facility break room, may help soothe and engage senses by providing sound, touch and visual stimulation.


Stanley Black & Decker and Autism Speaks 

Make48 supporter Stanley Black & Decker nominated Autism Speaks for the inaugural challenge as part of its mission to support inclusivity in the workplace and recognize people with autism or intellectual and/or developmental differences to be the makers of tomorrow. 

“Stanley Black & Decker supports Autism Speaks because 80 to 90 percent of adults 18 or older with autism are either unemployed or underemployed globally,” said Abigail Dreher, director of public affairs for Stanley Black & Decker. “At the same time, new innovations could leave manufacturing with a gap of 3.5 million unfilled jobs in the next 10 years. When you combine those two staggering statistics, you see a tremendous need for this program. For Stanley Black & Decker, it is all about preparing the workforce of tomorrow for success. Because when everyone feels included, everyone feels empowered.”

Autism Speaks is dedicated to promoting solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the life span, for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. This includes improving the transition to adulthood through funding research and partnering with companies large and small to create new pathways to employment, entrepreneurship and community participation.  The nonprofit teamed up with Stanley Black & Decker to create a community college curriculum focused on skills that will prepare people with autism to pursue jobs in manufacturing.

“In the U.S. alone, there are more than five million adults on the autism spectrum, and each year more than 70,000 autistic teens transition to adulthood. Together with partners like Stanley Black & Decker, we aim to transform employment for those on the spectrum by building more inclusive, welcoming workplaces nationwide,” said Valerie Paradiz, Autism Speaks’ vice president of services and support. “We are thrilled for this opportunity to work with Make48 and Stanley Black & Decker to support inclusive workplace culture and help inspire more people in our community to harness their creativity and identify workplaces where they can thrive.” 


Meet Izzy Swan and Meghan Baker

Makers Izzy Swan and Meghan Baker are eager to impress viewers with their designs and to help inspire more makers around the world. With hundreds of thousands of followers across YouTube and Instagram, the two have independently completed hundreds of projects from intricate furniture and custom tools to wooden vehicles and rustic art pieces.

Izzy Swan has been a staple figure in the making community and is known as one of the Godfathers of Making. His Youtube channel and website, izzyswan.com is filled with an abundance of topics including DIY hacks to Woodworking projects to money saving tips and wild and unique contraptions. 



Meghan Baker is the woodworker behind Sweet Aloha Designs. The custom furniture designer and DIYer has an undying passion for building quality custom ideas.  From custom built furniture and wood home decor with a farmhouse chic style, you’re always in great hands with this talented woodworker.

“What excites me the most about this maker challenge is the opportunity to inspire others. I am a huge advocate for trying new things and finding what really sparks your inner flame,” said Baker, founder of Sweet Aloha Designs. “I want to get involved with this challenge to support a great cause and have the opportunity to show the maker world how fun it is to come together and collaborate your ideas into something next level.”







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