LIFT and IN-MaC Celebrate Top MakerMinded School in Indiana

Digital learning platform recognizes student achievements in advanced manufacturing and STEM

West Lafayette, IN (May 29, 2019) — LIFT – Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow, a Detroit-based national manufacturing innovation institute and member of Manufacturing USA, and Indiana Manufacturing Competitiveness Center (IN-MaC) announced the winning school of the Hoosier State’s 2018-2019 inaugural MakerMinded competition. This competition expands students’ and schools’ access to world-class advanced manufacturing and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning experiences through an online platform.

In partnership with LIFT and the U.S. Department of Defense’s National Defense Education program, MakerMinded launched in Indiana in the fall of 2018 to inspire more middle and high school students to pursue advanced manufacturing careers and equip them with 21st-century skills in-demand at Indiana’s over 7,000 manufacturers that currently employ over 500,000 people.

Columbia City High School in Columbia City, IN, is being recognized for their students’ outstanding performance in MakerMinded, and will receive state-of-the-art STEM learning technology to enhance its curriculum.

Columbia City High School is just one of the many middle and high schools across Indiana whose students are participating in cutting-edge education programs and activities through MakerMinded, and becoming the future workforce Indiana needs to maintain and grow its manufacturing economy. Indiana’s MakerMinded students are also poised to become the talent the nation needs to meet its most complex defense technological and manufacturing challenges.

“These MakerMinded students in Indiana are becoming the next generation of innovators and makers,” said Emily DeRocco, vice-president, education and workforce development, LIFT. “They prove we have the talent and the passion in our students to be a globally competitive manufacturing force; we just need to provide more opportunities for young people to access the right learning opportunities and hone their skills.”

The over 300 active students and teachers across Indiana are now part of a national MakerMinded network that includes schools in Idaho, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, and West Virginia, where LIFT works with local partners to onboard schools and activate students’ participation. To date, over 6,000 students and teachers from over 500 middle and high schools are participating in MakerMinded nationally.

“Most schools in Indiana are already engaging in innovative STEM education activities. The Indiana MakerMinded platform provides educators and students the opportunity to share learning experiences and curriculum that encourages regional collaboration. By creating a shared community, educators are creating an ecosystem that links resources and equitable access to STEM experiences,” said Lisa Deck, program manager, education and workforce, IN-MaC. “Columbia City High School is being rewarded for their innovation and focus on career awareness and exploration, which is helping their students make informed decisions about their future.”

Jeff Clark, Advanced Manufacturing Instructor at Columbia City High School said, “It is encouraging to know that the state of Indiana is committed to providing our students with great resources, such as IN-MaC and MakerMinded, to train capable manufacturing employees.”

This year, students participated in a variety of activities, including: attending a STEM event; visiting local manufacturing facilities; hosting manufacturing guest speakers; and completing programs like Youth Employment Solutions (YES!), Junior Achievement, Manufacturing Day, Adventure Science Engineering Day, A World of Motion, FIRST Robotics and Connect with Safran Landing Systems.

“The Indiana MakerMinded platform creates peer learning opportunities and a catalog of knowledge to help further identify, explore, and develop current and new STEM practices and create a diverse STEM ecosystem regionally and nationally. Together with the community, educational partners, and industry we can expand the ecosystem and foster a network of resources that influence and shape the community in which we all live and work,” said Sascha Harrell, director, education and workforce, IN-MaC.

Designed by LIFT and Tennessee Tech University’s iCUBE, MakerMinded directly links students to a diverse range of national and local advanced manufacturing programs, including manufacturing facility tours, gaming activities, and project-based learning. MakerMinded also includes a competition component, as students and schools receive points for each completed activity. Points are tallied on a real-time online leader board and the top schools are celebrated at year-end recognition events.

The 2019-2020 competition will commence this coming August 2019. Students, schools, employers and others interested in joining the Indiana MakerMinded campaign should visit

IN-MaC presents Columbia City High School with a check to provide STEM educational technology to enhance the school’s STEM curriculum

Columbia City High School students tour a manufacturing facility on Manufacturing Day 2018

About LIFT – Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow
LIFT is a Detroit-based, public-private partnership committed to the development and deployment of advanced lightweight metal manufacturing technologies, and implementing education and training initiatives to better prepare the workforce today and in the future. LIFT is one of the founding institutes of Manufacturing USA and is funded in part by the Department of Defense with management through the Office of Naval Research.

About IN-MaC – The Indiana Manufacturing Competitiveness Center
IN-MaC is a non-profit, 501 c (3), is hosted by Purdue University and delivered in partnership with Ivy Tech Community College and Vincennes University to catalyze growth and reinvigorate the American dream for future generations. Manufacturing is an economic engine that drives innovation and prosperity while improving our quality of life with a wide range of useful products. The United States enjoyed a lead in manufacturing for over 100 years — a lead that has since eroded as others have taken advantage of lower-wage labor markets plus other factors to draw industry away from the heartland. It is imperative that Indiana re-assert its leadership in manufacturing by leveraging our talents to leap-frog to the top of global competitiveness by mainstreaming new technologies and modern practices while cultivating a more competitive and capable workforce. We do so by addressing challenges such as: shortage of trained workers capable of filling open positions; integration of modern technologies and practices throughout the value chain; and smart investments in research with near-term applications to strengthen our manufacturing ecosystem.