MakerMinded Goes Live in Tennessee

CONTACT: Jacey Cavanagh
(610) 637-2796)

MakerMinded Goes Live in Tennessee

Digital Platform and Campaign is Changing the Course of STEM and Advanced Manufacturing Learning Across the State

Tuesday, October 11, 2016, Nashville, TN—Today the Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow (LIFT) national manufacturing institute, in partnership with Tennessee Tech University’s iCube, the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network (TSIN), the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and colleague national Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI) unveiled MakerMinded, a new online STEM learning and competition platform. The multi-pronged platform will help impassion students about advanced manufacturing and provide them with transformational STEM learning experiences that set them on track towards 21st century manufacturing careers. Tennessee is the first state to launch this national initiative.

MakerMinded’s digital platform,, is connecting Tennessee students to leading-edge STEM and advanced manufacturing education experiences, while galvanizing participating students and schools around a student-driven, pro-manufacturing campaign and competition. The platform’s goal in the first year is to onboard students in 100 middle and high schools, giving them access to the right programs that will encourage and prepare them for further education and careers in advanced manufacturing. Examples of programs included on the platform are Learning Blade, a mission-driven online STEM curriculum; Science Olympiad, standards-based science challenges; and the “LIFT Assembly Line” Virtual Reality game.

In its National Manufacturing Day Fact Sheet, The White House highlighted MakerMinded as a promising new program that is inspiring and preparing the next generation of manufacturers and STEM practitioners.

“Manufacturers across the country lament a widening skills gap—which is projected to leave 2 million jobs unfilled over the next decade if we don’t act now to engage and prepare a skilled workforce,” said Emily DeRocco, director, education and workforce, LIFT. “MakerMinded is a game- changing strategy that has the potential to re-write the future of not only manufacturing, but of today’s young students, who need the inspiration, experiences and skills to pursue meaningful careers.”

“MakerMinded is delivering to young people actionable information and compelling opportunities in STEM exactly when they start making critical decisions about their future—in middle and high school,” said Wes Hall, director, TSIN. “Too many students lose interest in STEM- related courses and careers simply because they are not aware of or able to access the right learning experiences and programs. MakerMinded changes this.”

“Manufacturing firms in Tennessee employ nearly 350,000 workers and contribute 16% to the Gross State Product, said Bradley Jackson, President of the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “Through delivery of local programs like job shadows, plant tours and summer camps, MakerMinded is helping Tennessee manufacturing employers link directly to their future workforce.”

What Teachers are Saying about MakerMinded

“Today’s world requires students to be prepared with a skill set to solve difficult problems. These types of skills are enhanced by learning about and doing STEM activities. That is why MakerMinded is important. This program not only ensures they are gaining the core knowledge they need to be successful in school, but also in the workplace.”—Ilham Tayahi, middle and high school STEM teacher, Shelby County Schools

“MakerMinded is the program we have been waiting for. We needed something to incentivize the hard work that goes into facilitating STEM activities and excites both students and teachers about the benefits of STEM education. We know it is important, but now we will be recognized on the state level for our hard work. I can’t wait to start logging points for my school!”—Tamra Billings, middle school STEM teacher, Shelby County Schools

Watch a video to discover how MakerMinded works.

Students and schools 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 TSIN
The Tennessee STEM Innovation Network (TSIN) is a unique public-private collaboration between the Tennessee Department of Education and Battelle Memorial Institute designed to promote and expand the teaching and learning of STEM education in K-12 public schools across Tennessee. To learn more about the TSIN, please visit

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