LIFT launches advanced manufacturing program for Detroit students


  • Through new lab at Detroit site, LIFT bringing nationally developed and federally funded curriculum to Detroit students
  • Launching advanced manufacturing academic pathway with University Prep Science & Math High School to connect in-class education with lessons in new lab
  • Will also provide programs for Detroit middle school students to expose them to advanced manufacturing career pathways

Students at University Prep Science & Math High School and other Detroit youth will gain exposure to careers in the advanced manufacturing sector and gain basic technical skills through a new program with Detroit testing facility Lightweight Innovations For Tomorrow.

A $200,000 grant from the Skillman Foundation is funding the program which will connect University Prep students’ in-school education with daily experiences at a new learning lab at LIFT’s advanced testing and manufacturing facility.

LIFT will also provide programs for middle school students across the city to expose them to advanced manufacturing career pathways from the lab at its Corktown facility in Detroit.

The program will help Detroit area youth strengthen their academic and employability skills and increase their basic knowledge in science, technology, engineering and math, along with their technical skills, LIFT said in a release.

The remainder of the Skillman grant will fund on-site immersion activities to introduce IGNITE and its project-based learning to an additional 100-200 middle and high school students through partnerships with other schools and local community organizations.

Supported by funding from the U.S. Department of Defense, “IGNITE: Mastering Manufacturing” is a three-year, educational program aimed at helping develop multi-skilled technicians for the workplace. The curriculum introduces students to advanced manufacturing materials, processes and systems through on-line, interactive, multi-media and project-based learning built around real industry challenges, LIFT said.

The program was developed by a national partnership led by LIFT, with partners including: Amatrol Inc. in Indiana, the Miami-based American Welding Society, Virginia-based National Institute for Metalworking Skills, the Ohio-based Past Foundation, Ohio State University, MxD in Chicago and America Makes in Ohio.

“Our institute is built on the premise that it takes partnerships — public, private and philanthropic — to tackle the large issues we are working to solve, like the skills gap in advanced manufacturing,” said Emily DeRocco, vice president, education and workforce development for LIFT, in the release.

The partnership with Skillman “is a perfect example of how communities and the organizations that serve them can come together and work toward sound talent development solutions that are a win-win-win for youth preparing for careers, manufacturers needing their next generation workforce and educators who bridge that supply and demand,” she said.

Ron Hall, a member of Skillman’s board and president and CEO of tier one automotive supplier Bridgewater Interiors LLC, said programs like the one with LIFT could make a big difference in Detroit’s ability to hire local talent to fill highly skilled labor needs.