STEM education and advanced manufacturing learning

STEM education and advanced manufacturing learning

MakerMinded student competition goes live in Kentucky and Tennessee; expands into Ohio and Detroit, Michigan.


LIFT – Lightweight Innovations For Tomorrow, a national Manufacturing USA institute, in partnership with Tennessee Tech University’s iCube, and other state partners, launched the second year educational competition using MakerMinded, an online STEM learning and activity platform.

The MakerMinded campaign impassions students about advanced manufacturing careers and provides them with transformational Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) learning experiences that set them on track towards that goal. LIFT piloted this national initiative in Kentucky and Tennessee beginning October of 2016 and is launching two new campaigns this school year in Ohio and Detroit, Michigan.

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MakerMinded’s online platform, connects students to more than 150 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 is to provide students access to the right programs that will encourage and prepare them for further education and careers in advanced manufacturing.

“Manufacturers across the country fear a widening skills gap, which could result in 2 million jobs going unfilled unless we take action now to prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s jobs,” says Emily DeRocco, director, education and workforce, LIFT. “MakerMinded shows the magic that happens when we empower young people with the opportunities, inspiration, and tools they need to gain in-demand skills and pursue meaningful careers.”

During the 2016-2017 school year, nearly 2,000 students from more than 200 middle and high schools across Kentucky and Tennessee participated in close to 2,000 STEM and advanced manufacturing learning programs as part of the MakerMinded competition. This year’s goal is to increase the number of schools and students engaged in MakerMinded advanced manufacturing programs by May 2018.

To help realize a STEM and manufacturing career-ready talent pool, LIFT is working with high-powered partners in Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee and Detroit, Michigan, including:

How it works
The MakerMinded platform includes a searchable database of both national and local student programs, including online and in-person experience, from manufacturing facility tours to engineering design challenges to technical skills competitions. Examples of programs include Learning Blade, a mission-driven online STEM curriculum; Science Olympiad, standards-based science challenges; and the “LIFT Assembly Line” Virtual Reality game. As students complete activities and programs, schools receive points and compete against other schools in their state. The competition culminates in a statewide recognition event and prizes for the schools and students which accumulate the most points for completing the most activities.

Students and schools interested in joining the MakerMinded campaign can find their state portal and sign up at