MakerMinded Expands National Footprint, Opens Doors to STEM for All Students

National campaign connects with students early to build future advanced manufacturing and STEM workforce.

DETROIT, MI – Wednesday, July 18, 2018 —LIFT – Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow, a Manufacturing USA institute, today announced the expansion of its national advanced manufacturing learning platform and competition, MakerMinded, into three new states – Idaho, Indiana, and West Virginia.

LIFT is partnering with the Idaho STEM Action Center, the Indiana Next Generation Manufacturing Competitiveness Center (IN-MaC), the West Virginia University Center for Excellence in STEM Education and West Virginia Forward to launch MakerMinded and expand students’ and schools’ access in those states to world-class advanced manufacturing and STEM learning experiences. Through these transformational experiences, middle and high school students will gain 21st century skills and secure their path to in-demand STEM careers.

“MakerMinded has proven to be the right ingredient to inspire and prepare tomorrow’s innovators and makers,” said Emily DeRocco, education and workforce development director, LIFT. “The platform is not just opening young minds to advanced manufacturing, but also giving those young minds foundational technical and employability skills they need for some of the most competitive careers, as well as in life.”

Originally designed by LIFT and Tennessee Tech University’s iCUBE and launched in 2016, MakerMinded impassions students about advanced manufacturing and equips them with the skills and mindsets needed in the innovation economy. It directly links students to a diverse range of national and local STEM and advanced manufacturing programs, including manufacturing facility tours, gaming activities and project-based learning. MakerMinded also drives a sense of competition, as students and schools receive points for each completed activity, which are tallied on a real-time online leader board, with the top schools being celebrated at year-end recognition events.

This expansion into Idaho, Indiana and West Virginia is made possible through a grant from the U.S. Department of Defense’s National Defense Education Program, so that MakerMinded will help fulfill the mission to attract, inspire, and develop exceptional STEM talent across the education continuum. Through exposure to cutting-edge education programs and activities, MakerMinded students can become the future workforce needed to meet the nation’s most complex defense technological and manufacturing challenges.

Idaho, Indiana and West Virginia will become part of a national MakerMinded initiative that includes campaigns in Detroit, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee, where LIFT works with local partners to onboard schools and activate students’ participation. To date, over 5,000 students and teachers from over 400 middle and high schools are active on the platform.

The MakerMinded competitions will officially launch in Fall 2018 at the start of the school year.

Watch a video to discover how MakerMinded works.

Students, schools, employers and others interested in joining the MakerMinded campaign should visit

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 iCube

Tennessee Tech University’s iCube is a place where students and faculty Imagine, Inspire, and Innovate. We are a leader in advancing collaborative solutions with extensive experience in public policy marketing campaigns and virtual reality development. To learn more about our center, please visit