Cleveland, OH---LIFT (Lightweighting Innovations for Tomorrow) is one of nine manufacturing innovation institutes that make up Manufacturing USA. Encompassing five states including Ohio, LIFT is targeting the use of new weight-reducing technologies and materials in industries such as transportation, automotive, aerospace, defense, and bio-medical. Research shows that lighter materials can bring better performance benefits to a range of components and products critical to these sectors.
Through the LIFT partnership, MAGNET provides students with work-based learning opportunities including paid internships in lightweighting-related companies throughout the full supply chain. It also provides a financial incentive to companies hiring students. Working with career technical schools and colleges, the project will demonstrate the value of this approach to address the skill shortages in advanced manufacturing and will result in an advanced manufacturing career pathway.
MAGNET recently hosted a roundtable for manufacturers to introduce LIFT and the internship opportunities available. Participating manufacturers learned about innovations to optimize product weight reduction and how emerging technologies are shaping manufacturing competitiveness and workforce solutions. Dave Pierson, Senior Design Engineer at MAGNET, shared technical information about additive manufacturing and its application in the design and manufacture of new lighter weight products. To illustrate how lightweighting can impact even the smallest parts, he provided an example of a conventionally manufactured aluminum brake pedal that was reengineered using titanium to reduce weight and increase performance.
Discussion followed about the critical issue of skilled workers and the increasing demand to meet current and future workforce. Internships and work-based learning experiences play a vital role in developing and acquiring talent. Three companies-- Exact Tool, Nordson, and Swagelok-- shared how they have integrated high school and college level interns into their business operations. The work-based learning model is a strategy to grow their talent pool and provide students with an opportunity to apply their learning in the real-world. The employers expressed interest in working with MAGNET to further explore the technologies and to provide internship opportunities for eligible students.
Manufacturing is at the heart of Ohio’s economy with an annual output of $87.2 billion. Ohio has 1,250 machine shops manufacturing aviation parts, 348 Automotive Tier-1 suppliers, and more than 730,000 workers in occupations related to lightweighting. Despite these impressive numbers, a shortage of skilled talent exists and is expected to increase. LIFT recognizes the parallel need to advance the workforce to address the growing skills gap in manufacturing occupations.
Through LIFT, MAGNET is supporting placement of 45 career-tech students in work-based learning experiences in lightweighting-related companies this summer. MAGNET and partners, Tech-Solve in Cincinnati and FastLane in Dayton, will each place 15 students enrolled in programs such as machining, welding, and pre-engineering. Students are paid an hourly wage and often are retained as part-time employees following the internship. Participating companies receive a partial wage reimbursement through the Ohio Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) as an incentive to hire the student interns.
National Network for Manufacturing Innovation has a public name: Manufacturing USA. Over the past four years of the program, nine manufacturing innovation institutes have been established or announced, with six more planned by 2017. These manufacturing institutes are public-private partnerships that each have distinct technology focus areas but work towards a common goal: to secure America’s future through manufacturing innovation, education, and collaboration.