Tiny WPA is Hiring!

Photo by Neal Santos.

Photo by Neal Santos.

Tiny WPA is hiring! We are looking for a strong designer and experienced fabricator who loves people, especially empowering everyone from kids through seniors to design and build great things that make a positive difference. You must be incredibly comfortable working, leading and following people who are not like you--whether it be age or socioeconomic background. You also must be comfortable being ‘strong and wrong’. While teaching experience is a plus, it is not required and first and foremost you should be good at and find great joy in working with people. Having deep curiosity in how people best learn and create or an entrepreneurial background will also be helpful.

The Program Manager will be responsible for:

1. Leading, managing and growing The Building Hero Project.

This includes managing and helping teach the 8-week Training Program; overseeing fabrication of products; leading product development and marketing for The Building Hero Etsy Store; managing related budgets; and growing The Building Hero Project’s socially good contracting arm.

2. Helping lead, manage and design placemaking projects in West Philadelphia. 

Upcoming projects include helping lead Tiny WPA’s Play Everywhere grant from Kaboom, which will involve refining and co-developing playable sidewalk furniture with local stakeholders of all ages. You will be required to track and manage detailed budgets as well as fulfill KaBOOM’s evaluation guidelines.

3. Continuing to grow and support a robust multi-generational community around the Building Heroes and our shared neighborhood-focused makerspace.     

You will be one part ‘den mother/father’ for the Building Heroes and #4017Lancaster, our community-focused makerspace. This means ensuring that people of all ages feel welcome and engaged; that the workshop area is clean, maintained and organized effectively to meet everyone’s needs; and further strengthening relationships and awareness through social media (Instagram, Facebook and Twitter). A key part of this is overseeing Tiny WPA’s weekly Stop By + Build open building session every Wednesday and potentially working with Building Heroes and other collaborators to develop additional classes in the space.



- 2+ years experience

- Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Design, Product Design, Architecture, or related field OR a minimum of 2 years experience performing a role substantially similar to the essential functions of this job description.

- You must have a strong design ‘eye’ and sense of design. Please provide work/project samples that demonstrate your design skills and aesthetics.

- Rock solid proficiency with Adobe Creative Suite, SketchUp and Google Docs is required. Experience with Solidworks and/or Rhino is a plus.

- Solid fabrication and woodworking experience is required; mig welding experience is a plus. You will be frequently using a laser and vinyl cutter.

- Teaching experience is not absolutely required but you must be exceptional at and love working with people. Deep curiosity about how people best learn, create and collaborate is a plus.

- Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written. Due to Tiny WPA’s incredibly collaborative nature, we prefer over-communication.

- Attention to detail is a must.

Tiny WPA is young nonprofit. We work really hard but deeply love our work. A typical work week is 45-55 hours. When there are work surges, we will happily provide commensurate days off.


Application Instructions

1- Please email cover letter, resume and a portfolio or images of at least four work or project samples to     Renee Schacht at renee@tinywpa.org with "Program Manager" in the subject line. We will review applications on a rolling basis but hope to fill the position either before Christmas or the first week in January.

2- We need to see you design and building with others! Schedule a time to design-build for a number of hours during Stop By + Build with people of all ages or volunteer on a project. You will quickly know if you love or hate the occasional controlled chaos and we get to see if you are a good fit.


Tiny WPA is an Equal Opportunity Employer.  A diverse staff is critical to our mission. Individuals of diverse backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply.

Tiny WPA Receives A Grant From The Barra Foundation + Come Visit Our New Community Workshop!

4017 Lancaster Avenue. Photo by Albert Yee.

4017 Lancaster Avenue. Photo by Albert Yee.

We couldn’t be more excited to ring in 2016 with news that Tiny WPA has received a three-year grant from The Barra Foundation to grow The Building Hero Project AND that Tiny WPA and Public Workshop will be opening a new community-focused workshop, classroom and storefront with People’s Emergency Center (PEC) on Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia in January 2016.

The grant from The Barra Foundation, coupled with a recent grant from StartUp PHL, will enable Tiny WPA to significantly grow and expand the impact of The Building Hero Project. This means that we will be able to make our 8-week Building Hero training program free to Building Heroes of all ages on Lancaster Avenue and throughout the Philadelphia region. This will also allow us do such things as grow the team’s wildly successful Etsy Store, develop job training pipelines and partnerships with local design and manufacturing firms, as well as create a socially good Building Hero contracting arm to provide fabrication services for local businesses and individuals.

The Building Hero Project will be based out of our new community-focused workshop that we will be opening in January 2016 at 4017 Lancaster Ave. A home for Tiny WPA and Public Workshop as well as PEC’s Neighborhood Time Exchange program, the space will have a full workshop, a storefront for Building Hero products, a classroom/community meeting space, and generally will be a ‘living room’ for our Building Heroes and neighbors. The space will also support community-led placemaking projects in and around Lancaster Avenue such as the adventure playground and mini-park. Tiny WPA recently was awarded a grant from LISC to continue this work, to create a design-build play-based after-school program on the lot. Our new workshop will serve as a home base and resource for the projects, people and ideas that rise out of this and other work with our partners along the Avenue.

Interested in joining The Building Hero Project or learning about how to get involved with our new workshop? Great! Please take a moment to fill out this super short form and we will be in touch, pronto.

We will spending much of January, February and March design-building our basement workshop and other improvements to the space and would love your help. Give us a hand and we will happily teach you how to use all sorts of power and hand tools.

Happy New Year! We hope you are as excited about 2016 as we are. - Tiny WPA and the Building Heroes

Thank you StartUp PHL

Tiny WPA was selected for the latest round of Startup PHL Call for Ideas grants! Thank you Mayor Nutter and Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Alan Greenberger as well as all those from the City of Philadelphia's Commerce Department, PIDC and First Round for supporting our Building Heroes and enabling us to grow The Building Hero Project, our community design leadership program for ages 16 and up. This is an incredible vote of confidence in the hard work that we and all of the Building Heroes have put forth to create this unique program, team and collection of products that are being purchased by people all over the world. This grant represents the first step in expanding the program beyond the prototype developed over the past years.

Also congratulations to Corzo Center for Creative Economy at the University of the Arts, Refugee Women's Textile Initiative, Schoolyard Ventures, and TechGirlz Charitable Foundation who also were selected! Tiny WPA is proud to be among such aspiring entrepreneurs and thoughtful leaders in Philadelphia.