In the heart of American Manufacturing…. From the Desk of Nigel Francis, LIFT CEO and Executive Director

Nigel Francis

We were particularly pleased to announce that we recently renewed the lease on our facility in Detroit’s historic Corktown neighborhood for another five years. This in itself speaks to our sustainability.

For the last five years, our facility has evolved from an empty building to a cutting-edge research, development, innovation and education facility aimed at preparing industry, aerospace and defense and the next generation of manufacturers for the future.

Over the years, our building has hosted thousands of meetings and events including U.S. Cabinet secretaries, governors, senators, congressmembers along with industry leaders, educators and students from all over the nation. LIFT has hosted nearly 5,000 visitors over the past year – or about two visitors every hour of every business day.

A critical part of our mission is to serve the nation’s needs in advanced manufacturing, education, and workforce development, as well as act as a catalyst and accelerator for advanced tech development and deployment. That is exactly why we have developed and deployed the LIFT Learning Lab here and are looking to replicate is across the state and around the nation to fill the growing advanced manufacturing skills gap. We already have more than 120 students daily in our Learning Lab.

We are continuing to work with the Department of Defense, industry and academia to deliver the top technological innovation to both the DoD and industry such as hypersonics, lightweight and transparent armor, multi material joining, weld-arc additive manufacturing and agile/smart manufacturing processes like incremental sheet forming.

So, as we move towards a future of smarter manufacturing, there is no better place for us to be than here in Detroit, the hub of U.S. manufacturing, to serve the nation.

We were also able to announce the expansion of our Operation Next program, which provides education and training opportunities for separating military men and women in some of the most in-demand manufacturing jobs. The $5 million grant from the Department of Defense will allow us to expand the program to nine bases across the country over the next three years.

As we head towards Thanksgiving, it is appropriate that we thank those men and women for what they do in serving our country. Operation Next gives us the opportunity to thank them by helping them transition into the civilian workforce a little easier. It is our privilege to do so.

On behalf of our team at LIFT and our extended enterprise, I wish you and yours and happy and healthy Thanksgiving, and thank you for your service.