Weave Gotcha Covered!, a company that specializes in fabricating and installing custom window treatments and fabric furnishings, has launched The Sewing Labs, a community learning center specializing in job skills training of legacy sewing skills.For more than 10 years, Kelly Wilson and Lonnie Vanderslice, the owners of Weave Gotcha Covered!, have had a goal to help marginalized women find a better way of life by teaching them sewing skills. After spending the last year developing the concept, the duo launched The Sewing Labs, a non-profit that began offering its first classes on Jan. 12.
Wilson said that The Sewing Labs has three goals that serve as the foundation for improving the lives of The Sewing Labs’ participants:
- Provide job skills training leading to economic self-sufficiency
- Foster formation of safe, supportive, nurturing communities of women
- Perpetuate the American legacy of sewing, fabric and fiber arts
Participants will receive certification in designated fabric-related skill sets, and curriculum will focus on teaching skills sets that can lead to employment.
The Sewing Labs is partnering with other vocational training programs in the Kansas City area that work to develop the skills of Kansas City’s most vulnerable and marginalized populations—those affected by addiction, incarceration and poverty.
That workforce development network, called KC Works Together, includes The Sewing Labs, the Culinary Cornerstones Training Program, The Grooming Project and Cultivate Hope.
“Through this collaborative effort, we will help individuals living in poverty enter the workforce and move toward economic sustainability,” Wilson said. “Each of these organizations addresses employment barriers that individuals who are trapped in patterns of generational poverty, addiction and incarceration face. We’ll provide industry-specific vocational training programs and collaborate to share knowledge, networks and resources so we can deliver client services more efficiently.”