The Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow (LIFT) program will direct a recent $200,000 grant to promote advanced manufacturing skills development at its new "learning lab" for Detroit-area high school students. The grant was made available by The Skillman Foundation — a private philanthropy that works to strengthen educational opportunities for children and young adults in Detroit.
LIFT is a public-private partnership focused on developing and deploying of advanced lightweight metal manufacturing technologies, and implementing education and training initiatives. It coordinates academic and institutional research with likely and/or available industrial partners, with specific development targets.
The grant will support LIFT's Ignite: Mastering Manufacturing curriculum at Detroit’s University Prep Science & Math High School, a three-year program for 100 students during the current (2019-2020) academic year, aimed at developing multi-skilled technicians for the workplace. The curriculum introduces students to advanced manufacturing materials, processes and, systems through on-line, interactive, multi-media, and project-based learning built around real industry challenges, LIFT said.
"Advanced manufacturing" generally refers to processes that involve rapid transfer of science, technology, design, and engineering into manufacturing processes or products. Frequently cited examples include CAE, CAD, and CAM, high-performance computing, rapid prototyping, and robotics, among others.
The Learning Lab will host students every school day and provide an immersive atmosphere within the LIFT R&D center, with "learning spaces" that include the Fundamental Manufacturing Skills Development Lab, CNC Operations and Welding Technicians Training Centers, and Smart Factory lab.
The Skillman grant also will fund on-site immersion activities to introduce Ignite and its project-based learning to an additional 100-200 middle and high school students through partnerships with other schools and local community organizations.
Ron Hall, president and CEO of automotive supplier Bridgewater Interiors LLC and a Skillman board member said supporting LIFT and its programs could help Detroit-area business hire local skilled workers.
LIFT is operated by the American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute (ALMMII), and seeks also to prepare current and future workers for new manufacturing methods. It is one of the founding institutes of Manufacturing USA, and is funded in part by the Dept. of Defense, with management through the Office of Naval Research.