The Department of Defense (DoD) announced today new partnerships with Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas and Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia aimed at revitalizing U.S. manufacturing in the machine tool industry. Machine tools are a foundational element of America’s advanced manufacturing capabilities, which are essential to the country’s national security and continued economic vitality.
Marshall and Texas A&M will add machine tool training centers to America’s Cutting Edge (ACE), a joint DoD - Department of Energy initiative funded by DoD’s Industrial Base Investments Office’s Industrial Base Analysis and Sustainment (IBAS) Program. ACE’s goal is to reestablish American leadership in the machine tool industry through transformative thinking, technology innovation, and workforce development. The training centers are a key part of ACENet, an emerging national network that delivers both transformative manufacturing technologies and innovative training models to the manufacturing ecosystem.
“People love to make things, and when they do, they feel good about themselves,” said IBAS Director, Ms. Adele Ratcliff. “The ACE curriculum allows people to experience machining often for the first time. By expanding those opportunities for more people to go through hands-on training, we’re hoping to inspire the next generation of manufacturers in this country.”
Through ACE, DoD established a national testbed in Knoxville, Tennessee, bringing together the scientific expertise of Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility and the proven workforce development capabilities of The Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI). To date, ACE has delivered online courses in Computer Numerical Control machining to more than 2,500 students from all 50 states, and in-person boot camp style training to more than 100 students, all at no cost to participants.
“ACE provides a unique workforce opportunity that can truly make a valuable impact for people and industry,” said Mr. Scott Terry, Director of Community and Small Business Initiatives for the SecureAmerica Institute, powered by Texas A&M’s Engineering Experiment Station. “We’ve already had a great deal of interest from high schools, secondary education institutions, trade schools, and manufacturers, and we look forward to working with many more partners throughout the state.”
ACE established its first hub beyond Knoxville in April 2022 in Greensboro, North Carolina at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, the nation’s largest Historically Black College or University. The latest partnership of Marshall and Texas A&M will aim to maintain and expand the impact of this program. ACENet will continue to seek regions and universities to infuse with hubs.
“Marshall’s Robert C. Byrd Institute – West Virginia’s Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center – has assisted manufacturers across our state and region for more than 30 years and delivered machinist training to thousands of individuals,” said Marshall University President Brad D. Smith. “This partnership with DoD and IACMI will greatly expand our efforts to prepare individuals in West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky for in-demand manufacturing jobs right here at home.”
For additional information on this project, please email the IBAS team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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