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Member of the Month September 2019, LIFT – Lightweight Innovations For Tomorrow

Editor’s note: The Detroit Regional Chamber’s Member of the Month designation recognizes a Chamber member working to grow the regional economy through innovative leadership in alignment with the Chamber’s programs or policy agenda.

LIFT – Lightweight Innovations For Tomorrow was named the Chamber’s September Member of the Month for its service to the community through its new advanced manufacturing program for Detroit students – the LIFT Learning Lab – a state-of-the-art facility featuring eight smaller labs utilizing its IGNITE: Mastering Manufacturing™ curriculum.

The new curriculum of IGNITE’s™ three-year competency-based education program introduces students to advanced manufacturing materials, processes, and systems through interactive multimedia online and project-based learning dealing with real-life industry environments and challenges. The program’s initial class includes more than 100 students daily from Detroit’s University Prep Science and Math High School daily with the support of The Skillman Foundation.

The impetus for this program is to combat the growing skills gap that exists in the next generation’s workforce. The 2018 Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute skills gap and future of work study found that nearly two million new manufacturing jobs will exist by 2028, but more than half of the open jobs could remain unfilled due to misperceptions about the industry and lack of training. To combat this prediction, LIFT created an immersive learning environment to better prepare young Detroiters – the next generation workforce – for fulfilling careers.

“An important part of our mission is to serve the Detroit region’s needs in advanced manufacturing, education and workforce development while acting as a catalyst and accelerator for advanced technology development and deployment,” said Nigel Francis, CEO of LIFT. “As we move toward a future of smarter manufacturing, there is no better place for us to be than here in Detroit, and we are thrilled that the Chamber, its leadership, and its members see the impact we are having not only on Southeast Michigan, but around the country.”

LIFT plans to extend this impact by replicating the Learning Lab model across the state, and eventually the nation, to help fill the skills gap.