Director's Notes

About the Executive Director - Jason R. Allen

Allen is a seasoned professional with a rich background in both the operational and marketing aspects of small businesses, coupled with a track record of technical innovation in CNC machines and 3D printing for custom sign-making and prototyping. His unique strengths extend beyond technical proficiency to include a natural talent for communication, vision-building, and fostering structural innovation. Notably, Allen dedicated two and a half years to an innovative high school program in Fayette County, where he left an indelible mark on pedagogical and organizational fronts.

In the realm of pedagogical innovations, Allen developed the "5 P’s" framework, guiding students through Proposal, Pattern-Making, Prototyping, Production, and Presentation. He also pioneered community-engaged learning, encouraging real-world problem-solving and collaboration. Additionally, Allen introduced models of student leadership, emphasizing specialization within project teams and promoting high levels of responsibility.

On the organizational front, Allen led key structural changes at The Learning Center, reorganizing it into departments based on end-product form. He spearheaded the "Department of Innovation," featuring co-located classrooms for different innovation phases. Allen connected student roles directly to project completion, fostering a sense of community responsibility. Regular showcases highlighted student projects, reinforcing community engagement and accountability.

Allen's talent for forging connections and communicating vision is evident in his success securing donations and partnerships, including 3D printers, CNC machines, and collaborations with entities like the University of Kentucky Solar Car Team and Microsoft. His unique blend of technical and cultural innovation is showcased through his involvement in artistic and product development work, emphasizing a holistic approach to community-focused projects and education. Allen's accomplishments highlight both technical expertise and a deep understanding of effective teamwork and relationship-building.

Navigating Community Growth and Technological Evolution

In the last four years, the journey of establishing a Makerspace for our community has been nothing short of transformative. As I reflect on this endeavor from the director's desk, I am delighted to witness the evolution of our organization into a multifaceted hub. What began as a Makerspace has grown into something much larger, prompting us to reevaluate and adapt to the changing needs of our community and its surroundings. We recognize the responsibility to address the educational needs of our residents, which goes beyond providing a space for creative expression.

Our commitment to community growth has led us to a realization: we must become an active player in shaping the educational landscape. To that end, we are reorienting our focus towards offering a diverse range of classes, camps, and clubs that cater to emerging technologies and specialized professions. One such example is our newfound emphasis on Drone Piloting, acknowledging the rising importance of this skill in today's job market. Simultaneously, we recognize the enduring significance of traditional trades like plumbing, HVAC, and electrical work. As we navigate the ever-changing terrain of technology and its exponential growth, we are equally dedicated to preserving and promoting the timeless value of these "old" trades.

The paradigm shift in our mission aligns with the dynamic nature of our world, where technological advancements are reshaping the employment landscape. It is our duty to equip our community with the tools and knowledge necessary to thrive in this evolving environment. By embracing both the cutting-edge and the time-tested, we aspire to become a cornerstone for education, innovation, and community development. As we look forward, we remain committed to fostering an environment where learning, creativity, and skill-building converge for the betterment of our community and beyond.

Farewell to Innovation: The Legacy of the Franklin Center for Innovation 

In 2019, the Franklin Center for Innovation (FCFI) burst onto the scene, igniting a spark of community empowerment and technological advancement. Founded by Dr. Gary Stratton and Jason Allen, this nonprofit organization quickly became a driving force for change in the region, fueled by their passion for innovation and collaboration.

The journey began with a fateful introduction by Dr. Ron Chi, a visionary educator with a fervent dedication to fostering innovation and entrepreneurship. Inspired by their shared vision, Dr. Stratton and Jason Allen embarked on a mission to establish a dedicated makerspace for Frankfort and its surrounding areas—a place where creativity, collaboration, and learning could thrive.

Equipped with state-of-the-art tools and technology, the FCFI makerspace became a hub for innovation, attracting individuals from diverse backgrounds eager to turn their ideas into reality. Through workshops, classes, and mentorship programs, FCFI empowered community members to develop new skills, explore emerging technologies, and pursue their entrepreneurial dreams.

But the impact of FCFI extended far beyond its physical space. By fostering partnerships between local businesses, educational institutions, and government organizations, FCFI strengthened the innovation ecosystem of Frankfort, positioning the community for long-term economic growth and prosperity.

Under the dedicated leadership of Dr. Stratton, Jason Allen, and their team of volunteers and supporters, FCFI became a beacon of hope and opportunity in the heart of Kentucky. Yet, despite its initial success, unforeseen challenges have led to the closure of the physical location.

Financial constraints and shifting priorities within the community have forced FCFI to make the difficult decision to cease operations. While the closure of the FCFI makerspace is undoubtedly a disappointment, its legacy will endure through the countless individuals who were inspired and empowered by its programs.

Nevertheless, FCFI remains committed to its mission of community empowerment and innovation. Through continued collaboration with local organizations, businesses, and educational institutions, FCFI will leverage its expertise and resources to support initiatives that promote creativity, entrepreneurship, and technological advancement.

As the chapter closes on the FCFI makerspace, its spirit of innovation and collaboration will continue to resonate within the community, serving as a reminder of the power of grassroots initiatives to drive positive change.

For more information about FCFI and its ongoing initiatives, visit www.FranklinCenterForInnovation,org or email