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Leanne Gluck


Director of Social Impact 3D Systems New York, NY


FOCUS ON THE


Pamela Hurt Manager, SME Education Foundation Industry Manager, Workforce Development SME


Dearborn, MI


WorkForce W


hen it comes to educating the manufacturing workforce of the future, our nation and industry are faced with an incredible opportunity.


The Boston Consulting Group predicts that by 2020 there will be a shortage of 875,000 manufacturing workers. Many of the empty jobs will be in advanced manufacturing, or high- tech areas of making things. In fact, additive manufacturing,


also known as 3D printing, is expected to be a $3.1 billion business worldwide, growing to an estimated $5.2 billion by 2020, according to the 2014 Wohlers Report. Together, that means American students have an unprec- edented opportunity to prepare for careers in the high-tech manufacturing fields of the future. To make sure this opportu- nity is realized, SME, 3D Systems, and America Makes have teamed up to revolutionize high school technical education and lab experiences through an initiative called M.Lab21.


The Plan


M.Lab21, the Manufacturing Lab of the 21st Century, will introduce high school students to advanced manu- facturing, specifically additive manufacturing. The term additive manufacturing comes from its process: building an object by adding successive layers of material. It’s also referred to as 3D printing, direct digital manufacturing or rapid prototyping, among other terms. Traditional manufacturing has since become defined as subtractive, referring to processes such as cutting, grinding and drilling in which objects are shaped by subtracting mate- rial. While these processes appear to directly oppose each


110 ManufacturingEngineeringMedia.com | November 2014


Michael Hripko


Deputy Director, Workforce and Educational Outreach America Makes Youngstown, OH


M.Lab21 — For Next Generation Makers


other, they are actually complementary, allowing manufactur- ers to use both to their greatest advantage. 3D technologies are changing the way we manufacture and giving companies new ways to claim competitive advan- tage on a global scale. 3D technology is not new, but it is now more accessible than ever before. Additive manufacturing can trim weeks, if not months, off design, prototyping and


M.Lab21 will help to usher a new generation into the advanced manufacturing of the future, enabling students to secure employment opportunities and strengthening manufacturing’s foundation in our economy.”


manufacturing time. It can also help companies avoid costly errors and enhance product quality. Additive technology is a game-changer for many manufacturers, and it will be an enticing educational path for today’s students.


Making it Happen M.Lab21 will revolutionize the outdated shop class of the


past. We will outfit American high schools with 21st century technology and use a blended learning approach by combin- ing hands-on work with theory-based education applied to ad- ditive manufacturing. This is a comprehensive initiative from curriculum, to state-of-the-art advanced manufacturing equip- ment, to an online community that will connect companies, teachers and students to truly prepare our future workforce. This program will transform digital literacy in the class- room, providing high school students with opportunities to learn 3D design, 3D scanning, and 3D printing, in the context of industries like aerospace, automotive, and biomedical. M.Lab21 is an interactive, experiential learning opportunity that combines curriculum aligned with career ready standards with hands-on activities building skills. It gives students and teachers access to the most advanced manufacturing technol-


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