Macomb Community College, LIFT Partner to Deliver “Operation Next” Advanced Manufacturing Training

The college will provide hands-on, performance-based training in robotics and industrial technology maintenance.

DETROIT – LIFT, the Detroit-based, Department of Defense-supported national manufacturing innovation institute, today announced that it has partnered with Macomb Community College to provide advanced manufacturing training opportunities through the institute’s “Operation Next” program.

“Operation Next” is an innovative, self-paced, manufacturing-focused training and credentialing -program, which blends hands-on with virtual learning available to employees of Detroit-area small and medium-sized manufacturers and displaced workers to help them recover from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The program is also open to members of the Michigan National Guard and Reserve and to civilians in the Detroit area, providing students the opportunity to earn industry recognized, nationally portable credentials for their next careers. Through funding provided through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and awarded to LIFT by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, as well as from a grant from the U.S. Department of Defense Manufacturing Engineering Education Program, training will be provided at no cost to the individual or their employer. Space is limited, so interested students should register today!

Macomb Community College will serve as a performance-based training provider offering hands-on training for the Industrial Technology Maintenance (ITM) and Robotics Technician majors in “Operation Next.” The performance-based training for the Welding and CNC Machining majors will be held at the LIFT Learning Lab in Detroit.

Both ITM and Robotics Technicians are some of the most in-demand advanced manufacturing jobs in the country, with nearly 40,000 combined job openings annually over the next eight years.

Industrial Maintenance Technicians install, repair and maintain commercial or industrial machinery in buildings, a plant, or a manufacturing setting, ensuring all machines function properly through troubleshooting and preventative maintenance service. Robotics Technicians build, install, test, or maintain robotic equipment or related automated production systems.

“We are proud to collaborate with LIFT on ‘Operation Next,’ connecting our residents to growing opportunities in the region’s advanced manufacturing sector while building the talent pool for local business and industry,” said Don Hutchison, dean, Engineering and Advanced Technology, Macomb Community College.

“It takes partnerships like this one in order for programs such as Operation Next to succeed and have the intended impact,” said Nigel Francis, CEO and Executive Director, LIFT. “Manufacturing is key to our economic and national security, and it starts with having the workforce ready, willing and able to succeed.

Operation Next was Initially launched in 2018 as a pilot program at Fort Campbell in Kentucky, as a manufacturing-focused training and credentialing initiative for separating military personnel. The program has since been expanded twice. In late 2019, LIFT announced the Department of Defense would support the program’s expansion to nine new military installations over the next three years, including the National Guard and Reserve, and in 2020 and into 2021, the program is being offered to civilians in Detroit and Pittsburgh as part of the COVID-19 pandemic recovery effort funded through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Companies and individuals can get more information on how to
become a part of the program here.


LIFT, operated by the American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute, is the Detroit-based, public-private partnership between the Department of Defense, industry and academia, committed to the development and deployment of advanced manufacturing technologies, and implementing talent development initiatives to better prepare the workforce today and in the future. LIFT funded in part by the Department of Defense with management through the Office of Naval Research. Visit or follow on LinkedIn at LIFT or on Twitter @NewsFromLIFT to learn more.

About Macomb Community College

Macomb Community College ( is one of the nation’s leading community colleges. Macomb nationally ranks in the top two percent in the number of associate degrees awarded by community colleges and is one of the largest grantors of associate degrees in Michigan. The college’s comprehensive educational programming includes pre-collegiate experiences, university transfer and career preparation programs, bachelor-degree completion and graduate degree programs, workforce training, professional education and certification, and continuing education and enrichment opportunities.