Doubling Down on Technology Commercialization… From the Desk of LIFT CEO and Executive Director Nigel Francis

Nigel Francis

We recently had the opportunity to sit down with, an SME publication, to provide their readers with an update on LIFT and where we plan on going into the future.

Our vision for the future is to play a stronger role, particularly with the small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs) across the country, to help them move toward a smarter manufacturing future to keep up with their large customers, but to also partner with them to help them take their technologies to commercialization.

Those SMMs are the lifeblood of the U.S. manufacturing base not only because they are the heartbeat of American innovation, but because they make up the supply chain that keeps the automotive, aerospace, defense and other industries moving.  As their Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) customers put more investment into robotics, automation and the “digital twin,” SMMs are going to have to keep up – not just for their own survival, but for the survival and integrity of the entire supply chain.

Ensuring the supply chain is robust from the standpoints of innovation and talent is one of the reasons this institute was created, and we look forward to helping bring those SMMs into a smarter manufacturing future.

In case you missed the piece, you can read it here.

Learning Lab Set for Launch
If you have been to our Detroit facility over the last several months, you have no doubt been taken through the LIFT Learning Lab as it has been constructed and filled with equipment.

We are proud to have announced recently that University Prep Science & Math High School, part of the Detroit-based University Prep Schools (UPrep) will be working in the Learning Lab every day during the 2019-20 school year as they work through the IGNITE: Mastering Manufacturing curriculum LIFT developed with the support of Department of Defense funding and a strong group of partners.

The LIFT Learning Lab is the culmination of years of Education and Workforce Development work and investments by the institute, providing a unique, immersive learning environment housed in a nationally-recognized applied research and development facility.

The Learning Lab provides learning resources and training for the entire continuum of manufacturing talent development – including students and teachers/faculty from K-12 to community and technical colleges to university – and graduate-degree programs, and incumbent workers in small, medium, and global enterprises.

Our Lab is a far cry from a traditional educational facility. With learning facilities co-located in a state-of-the art innovation lab, LIFT’s students are exposed to new technologies and cutting-edge processes while learning the fundamentals they need to thrive in an advanced manufacturing workplace. The LIFT Learning Lab spans 6,500 square feet, featuring eight unique labs equipped to prepare students for the most in-demand manufacturing careers.

I encourage you to schedule a visit to learn more about how our Learning Lab can support your education and training needs at

We are open for business and scheduling advanced manufacturing training now!