Ford encourages employees’ tinkering with free TechShop memberships

Some companies cater lunch on Fridays. Some throw in gym memberships or childcare or chair massages. Not Ford.

These guys are going big: They’re giving invention-focused employees TechShop memberships so they can tinker and make to their hearts’ delight.

TechShop is a space for those immersed in the maker/DIY movement and hardware hacking. It gives members tools and equipment for prototyping, classes in relevant topics, large workshop spaces, industry-specific software and computer stations, storage space, and plenty of hot coffee.

Ford’s newest employee perks program is intended to beef up the company’s investment in inventions and patents as well as bring more fuel to Detroit’s sparks of creativity. The memberships will be available to any Ford workers who submit inventions to the company’s Patent Incentive Award program.

The auto maker estimates around 2,000 Ford employees will benefit from the TechShop partnership this year alone. Already, dozens of Ford-employed inventors have taken advantage of the TechShop perk. The ideas they’re working on, Ford said, “may be incorporated into future Ford vehicles or licensed to other companies.”

“Ford has a portfolio of more than 17,000 patents around the world and, as a technology company, needs to be at the very forefront of automotive innovation,” said Ford reps in a release. “With TechShop in close proximity, Ford’s employees in Dearborn will be able to easily and quickly build prototypes for almost any inventive solution they can conceive.”

The brand-new TechShop facility in Detroit is located in a Ford-owned business park. The new TechShop includes 17,000 square feet of workshop space as well as classrooms, a brainstorming lounge, and a store full of materials. Check it out:

Top image courtesy of Nomad Soul, Shutterstock

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