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LIFT, APLU Convening Education Experts to Translate Manufacturing Research Into Developing Technology-Savvy Workforce

Austin, TX – The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), Lightweight Innovations For Tomorrow, and the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS) today announced an initiative to empanel an Expert Education Team to identify the knowledge, skills and abilities workers at all levels will need in order to deploy new technologies, materials, and processes in manufacturing.

LIFT, one of the founding Manufacturing USA institutes, and part of the National Network of Manufacturing Innovation program, is a Detroit-based public-private partnership dedicated to developing and deploying advanced lightweight metal manufacturing technologies, and implementing education and training programs to better prepare the workforce today and in the future.

“APLU’s mission is to increase degree completion and academic success, advance scientific research and expand engagement with our member universities,” said Jim Woodell, vice president for economic development and community engagement, APLU. “By working with a national institute like LIFT to connect its research to educational and training strategies, we are driving toward our goals, while helping transform an industry.”

“We can only position the United States as the leader in advanced manufacturing if we have an educated and skilled American workforce that is confident in using new technologies and processes,” said Emily Stover DeRocco, director education and workforce development, LIFT.

The infusion of technology across all manufacturing sectors and at all levels of design and production requires the workforce to have higher level skills and a significant set of competencies related to new technologies, materials, and processes. This joint initiative will better translate the technological advancements being achieved at LIFT and other Manufacturing USA Institutes into education and workforce training.

With research universities already engaged in identifying technology competencies, this initiative connects technology development and education and workforce. It also builds better connections between university learning and workforce needs, providing a better prepared workforce to fill the advanced manufacturing jobs in most demand.

Research universities play a critical role in developing the technologies needed for a successful advanced manufacturing infrastructure. They are also developing new approaches to education in engineering and other STEM disciplines, helping to develop the talent needed in the advanced manufacturing workforce. Through this initiative, technology development and education strategies will come together and universities will be helped in continuing to develop both technology and talent.

LIFT and APLU will convene experts selected from APLU’s 28 member universities across the LIFT five-state region, as well as LIFT’s other university research partners, to serve on an Expert Education Team.

Beginning immediately, the team will work with LIFT’s technology project leaders to help identify new competencies – knowledge, skills and abilities – required in design and production using the newly developed technologies and help design workforce strategies aligned with LIFT’s technology development plans.

Going forward in 2017 and into 2018, the team will develop recommendations on effective technology-aligned education strategies and review regularly the LIFT technology portfolio to recommend additional education and workforce development initiatives to build the tech-savvy advanced manufacturing workforce.

NCMS will co-lead the Education Expert Team and provide input as the largest cross-industry collaborative research and development consortium in North America, innovating in commercial, defense, robotics and sustainable manufacturing.

“Innovation and collaboration are at the core of our NCMS mission,” said Rebecca Taylor, senior vice-president, NCMS. “But that innovation can only work if it is positioned in a way to further educate and advance our manufacturing industry.”

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