APLU partnered with the Lightweight Innovations For Tomorrow (LIFT), one of the national manufacturing innovation institutes set up under the federal Manufacturing USA program, and the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS), the nation’s largest cross-industry technology development organization, to complete a 2-year initiative that aimed to bring the conversation of talent and workforce development to engineering and manufacturing education.
Together, APLU, LIFT and NCMS named scholars and teachers to an Expert Educator Team (EET) led by staff experts from APLU, LIFT and NCMS. Over the course of two years, the EET collaborated with LIFT’s technology project teams to identify how colleges and universities can modify their curricula and related industry certifications to meet the knowledge, skills, and abilities workers will need for jobs deploying emerging innovative lightweighting technologies, materials, and processes being developed by LIFT.
The EET convened several times from 2017-2018 to review emerging technological innovations in lightweighting and identify the knowledge, skills and abilities these new technologies will require of the next generation design and production workforce.
The EET produced a cumulative report to urge universities and industry partners to work together to address known “pain points” in building and enhancing the competitiveness the advanced manufacturing workforce. A key emphases of the report was on universities’ ability to translate technology, materials, and process development—especially related to lightweighting—into emerging competencies and to develop strategies that address skill needs.
As part of the initiative, APLU, LIFT and NCMS also partnered with Manufacturing USA and MForesight to organize a workshop in Washington, DC focused on innovating and advancing “Work-and-Learn” educational strategies (internships, co-ops, apprenticeships etc.) in university-level engineering and manufacturing education. The workshop resulted in a key report outlining imperatives universities and their industry partners must address in order to meet the demands of an ever evolving and competitive manufacturing and engineering workforce.
Questions about this project may be addressed to Milan Ephraim. Interested in advancing talent and workforce development on your campus? Join APLU’s Commission on Economic and Community Engagement.