Welcome to The National Science Institute

The National Science Institute (NSI) was established in 1994 in Grand Rapids, Michigan as a mechanism for students to obtain direct access to science and technology. Since then, NSI has grown into a primary resource for individuals, groups, employers, and families seeking innovative educational options, 21st century skills, vocational training, self-paced learning, and unique STEAM programming.

People often ask “What is The National Science Institute?” It’s more than a makerspace. It’s more than a science museum. It’s not quite a school, and not quite a classroom. The NSI is a community learning campus located in the heart of Grand Rapids, Michigan, serving over 50,000 members in 170+ countries and territories through in-person and virtual learning experiences. 

Within these walls you will find an array of knowledge. You’ll find tech nerds, but you will also find people who are not comfortable with new technology. You’ll find experts here. You’ll also find absolute beginners. And you’ll find people somewhere in the middle. You’ll find students, seasoned professionals, and people mid-career.

The reasons people arrive at The National Science Institute vary. Some come to improve job skills to change careers. Others come with a business idea, seeking guidance for prototyping a product. School groups come for hands on STEAM education. Parents come with their kids to learn a new hobby, or to work on a project together. And others come simply to meet new people with similar interests. Whatever the reason that brings individuals here, the community is the reason most people stay.

Why STEAM? 

By the year 2030, 50% of jobs that exist today will be made obsolete by developing technologies  and we do not yet know exactly what jobs will take their place. Education can no longer be a singular event in a person’s life. It must be continuing, agile, accessible and relevant to allow people to adapt to constantly changing societal expectations. Systemic barriers make it difficult for underserved populations to not only access the education and training they need, but to ensure they receive a current, competitive education.

The National Science Institute’s role in science and technology is to provide direct accessibility and  opportunities for education, vocational training, recreational learning, and program development through implementation of direct services for the classroom, at home, and at our central campus. The NSI operates programming that assists K-12 classrooms, post-secondary education, and adults seeking training or retraining. We believe education should be a lifelong endeavor, and should be a collective effort between educators, industry, individuals, and local neighborhoods. This positions NSI as a credible, necessary partner in education, both in Michigan and nationally.

Our Accomplishments

With over 50,000 members worldwide, The NSI is changing the face of education globally. Over the past year, we’ve impacted lives in the following ways: 

-Increased technology literacy in the Grand Rapids area by providing over 5,000 families with computers loaded with the software students need to succeed.

-Fully integrated our high school learning program into our overall programming. For the 2017/2018 academic year, we had 15 full time middle and high school students attending our facility in lieu of a more traditional learning program.

– Supplied students and teachers in all 50 states and in 170 territories and countries with 235,452 hours of educational video produced in our facility. Classroom content is now 42% of our consumed content, which is up from 15% in 2016.

-Quadrupled the size of our Computer Recycling Center, diverting electronic waste from the landfill while equipping more households with the technology they need. 

Recreational Education

When learning is fun, people learn for fun. We believe making education an enjoyable part of everyday life is vital to making individuals successful. We help by providing various opportunities such as a large online community of self-directed learners and offering a facility with 24 hour direct access to science and technology for hobby use.