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Collaboration is the Name of the Game

March 2, 2017
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From the Desk of Executive Director, Larry Brown

As a national institute, it is tempting to think that we have the solutions to every one of the issues facing the manufacturing industry.

The truth is, we don’t.

We don’t have the answers to every technology problem or issue regarding the growing skills gap in the workforce.

However, what we do have, is the ability to bring together the people who do have the expertise and backgrounds to work on those issues and come up with solutions.

We were privileged to be able to convene two different groups on two completely separate topics recently, including experts from all over the country and, quite literally, across the globe.

In February, along with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Automation Alley, the German-American Chamber of Commerce and IACMI – The Composites Institute, we were able to bring together manufacturing industry leaders from Germany to both learn about LIFT and the work going on here, but meet with industry members from across southeast Michigan.

While the meeting focused on sharing best practices and discussing particular technology problems, I was so pleased to see and hear the networking discussions going on outside of those panels.

The other meeting, we were able to host, was the very first meeting of the Expert Educator Team (EET) we assembled with the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) and NCMS: The National Center for Manufacturing Sciences.

The EET will collaborate 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 the new lightweighting technologies, materials, and processes being developed by LIFT.

The team is made up of six educators, selected from APLU’s member universities and other LIFT university research partners because of their significant knowledge of manufacturing technologies and experience within the manufacturing industry.

The first meeting generated tremendous dialogue and I am looking forward to learning more from this group as we move forward.

The point is, we can’t accomplish our mission alone. To have the impact on the industry and the country as we expect to have, it will take the work of experts from around the country, and yes, even some from the other side of the ocean.

We have much to learn from each other, because no single person or organization has all the answers.

The LIFT-IACMI Online Learning Hub

Another place we are looking for your expertise is with the LIFT-IACMI Online Learning Hub. Recently launched, the Hub serves as a location where people can find open-source and publicly available educational information on lightweighting concepts employing metal or composite materials.  The Learning Hub is designed for audiences ranging from elementary school to the “seasoned professional” in the current workforce.

While the Hub launched with over 150 different resources, it will continue to grow – but not without your help. If you have – or know of –  resources available to the public related to lightweighting, please let us know by using the “Submit a Resource” button on the Hub.

If you have questions, please let us know at communications@lift.technology.