INDIANAPOLIS -- At Trade School Indianapolis, the classes aren’t free – but you can’t pay money for them, either.
Trade School is built on bartering. The idea is that trading something handmade, or sharing expertise or time, helps people build relationships in a way that just exchanging money doesn’t.
"Anytime you want to go to a trade school class they’re all on our website so it will have a list of what the teacher wants in exchange for their knowledge," explains co-founder Brittney West. "So, on the day of class you show up with the item and that’s your entry into the class."
Items can range from the stalk of a yucca plant to a poem.
In the past classes have been held at pop-up spaces around the city, but West hopes that a new classroom in the Circle City Industrial Complex will allow Trade School to put down roots on the Near Eastside. West says the classes are attracting people from all over the region.
"Students literally traveled from Cambridge City, Anderson, Whitestown," West said. "They come to Trade School, so we’ve kind of created this platform that speaks to a lot of people."
West helped Trade School Indianapolis get off the ground in 2012, and it’s now one of 30 schools worldwide. She also recently took on the job of coordinating Trade School International. Nearly 20,000 students and teachers have participated in trade schools since the first one opened in New York City in 2009.
The 2015-2016 school year has three semesters, the first of which starts this weekend with classes like at home cheese making, bicycle commuting and retirement saving for entrepreneurs.