Elevate gives manufacturing an edge

March 18, 2016 | Cybersecurity Michele Farrell, Elevate Advanced Manufacturing Program Coordinator, Measured Intentions, mfarrell@measuredintentions.com

Competition for quality skilled employees is tough. The fact is, with the ongoing middle-skills gap in Iowa, employers are looking for individuals trained in fields like welding, computerized numerical control (CNC) and tool and die.

The situation has plagued Iowa’s advanced manufacturers for the past decade, but in the last few years, the same manufacturers that used to fight over employees have come together to work on a solution to the real issue. That solution is Elevate Advanced Manufacturing, a statewide multifaceted marketing campaign that is changing perceptions and encouraging more young people to pursue careers in advanced manufacturing.

Over the past three years, Elevate has effectively started to change the negative perception some have of manufacturing careers through social media, radio, print, public relations and old-fashioned boots-on-the ground participation in public events. The program even distributed a manufacturing-focused curriculum to more than 70,000 K-12 students.

Elevate now has a new tool in its toolbox called eduFACTOR, a program that has been proven in other states to give manufacturing the edge it needs in persuading students and parents to take another look at modern manufacturing.

eduFACTOR is an online suite of multimedia resources available to schools by subscription. The suite includes dramatic videos showcasing manufacturing accomplishments, virtual field trip experiences, career pathways videos, hands-on CNC and 3-D printing projects, interactive STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) activities, manufacturing career success stories and much more.

Those who attended the 2015 Advanced Manufacturing Conference got to see the materials firsthand during a presentation by eduFACTOR founder and host Jeremy Bout.

We are thrilled to be able to provide eduFACTOR to Iowa schools. These resources have opened the eyes of young people in other states about the opportunities in manufacturing, and we are confident the results will be tenfold here thanks to our other parallel marketing efforts through the broader Elevate campaign.

Elevate will choose five high schools from five identified regions (Northwest, Northeast, Southwest, Southeast and Central) to pilot the eduFACTOR program, and it is fully funding the subscriptions.

This is a big investment, but Elevate leaders are confident it will yield big returns for our manufacturing members over the long term. Today’s students are tomorrow’s workforce, and this workforce fuels our successful Iowa manufacturing economy.
For more information on Elevate Advanced Manufacturing, visit http://www.elevate.com. For more information on eduFACTOR, visit http://www.eduFactor.org.