LIFT, Detroit UPrep To Roll Out New Advanced Manufacturing Curriculum Next School Year

July 02, 2019 | Categories: Member News

Students will utilize new LIFT Learning Lab for hands-on learning with IGNITE: Mastering Manufacturing Curriculum

DETROIT – LIFT—Lightweight Innovations For Tomorrow, a national manufacturing innovation institute operated by the American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute (ALMMII), and Detroit-based University Prep Schools (UPrep) today announced the two organizations will roll out LIFT’s “IGNITE: Mastering Manufacturing” curriculum next year to University Prep Science & Math High School (UPSM), utilizing LIFT’s all-new Learning Lab as the venue.

Developed by a national partnership led by LIFT, and supported by funding from the Department of Defense, “IGNITE: Mastering Manufacturing” is a three-year foundational competency-based educational program for the “multi-skilled technician” needed in today’s workplace. The national partners include: the National Institute for Metalworking Skills, globally recognized as the leading provider of industry-developed, competency-based skill standards and credentials; Amatrol, providing best-in-class interactive learning solutions to master technical systems and solve problems; the PAST Foundation, which helps schools and districts develop transformative learning strategies; ASM Materials Education Foundation, which supports the advancement of scientific and engineering knowledge through education and research, The Ohio State University, one of LIFT’s founders and two other national manufacturing innovation institutes focused on digital and additive manufacturing – MxD and America Makes.

The IGNITE curriculum recently completed successful pilots at two high schools in Michigan and Ohio. The curriculum couples learning with project-based experiences built around real industry problems and emerging technologies to prepare students for a 21st-century production environment, as well as for additional post-secondary education to become engineering technicians, technologists, or engineers.

University Prep Science & Math High School will have approximately 100 students, from grades nine through 11, take part in IGNITE at LIFT for the 2019-20 school year beginning this fall.

The new LIFT Learning Lab will host the students each school day, providing them a unique, immersive learning environment housed in a nationally-recognized applied research and development facility. Among the learning spaces in the lab are the Fundamental Manufacturing Skills Development Lab, CNC Operations and Welding Technicians Training Centers, and Smart Factory lab.

“We are proud to have UPrep and its students as the first students to use the LIFT Learning Lab on a day-to-day basis,” said Emily DeRocco, vice president, education and workforce development, LIFT. “Our goal was to build the first-of-its-kind immersive lab here in our R&D facility, so students would not only gain the foundational skills for careers in advanced manufacturing but also see how those skills are applied on our high-bay floor.”

“One of our University Prep Core Values is ’Learning is Exciting,’ and with our LIFT partnership, we honestly live up to those words,” said Mark Ornstein, CEO of University Prep Schools. “Innovative practices and transformational experiences are what University Prep Schools are all about, and I am beyond thrilled to see our scholars take part in this new opportunity this fall.”

From its inception, LIFT’s industry members and partners have pursued two missions: to advance lightweight materials manufacturing technologies and processes and to develop the educated and skilled workforce U.S.-based manufacturers need.

With the development and launch of the new LIFT Learning Lab this summer, LIFT brings a one-of-a-kind learning venue to Detroit, focused on preparing the next generation of high-level technicians for in-demand advanced manufacturing jobs.
“This partnership with LIFT will provide students with amazing, real-life experiences in the field,” said Dr. John Lockhart, principal of UPSM High School. “Students will be exposed to leading edge, industry research, connect with opportunities, and be able to see high-paying possibilities in their future. This is destined to become one of the best learning experiences in Detroit.”

UPSM High serves students through a combination of individualized and Expeditionary Learning models. The students are, therefore afforded the unique opportunity to learn in an environment that extends education beyond the confines of the traditional classroom.

“Preparing the next generation of the U.S. advanced manufacturing workforce has been part of our mission since Day One,” DeRocco said. “The LIFT Learning Lab, featuring the IGNITE curriculum and hosting the UPrep students for their manufacturing skills development, brings that mission to fruition, and we are looking forward to helping these young men and women become America’s next generation of innovators and manufacturers.”

LIFT, operated by the American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute (ALMMII), is a Detroit-based, public-private partnership committed to the development and deployment of advanced lightweight material manufacturing technologies, and implementing education and training initiatives to better prepare the workforce today and in the future. LIFT is one of the founding institutes of Manufacturing USA, and is funded in part by the Department of Defense with management through the Office of Naval Research. Visit or follow on Twitter @NewsFromLIFT to learn more.

Known as one of Detroit’s longest-standing tuition-free and non-profit public charter school systems, University Prep Schools encompasses three districts and nine campuses serving K-12 students from all corners of the city and beyond with the 90/90 Promise, which guarantees that 90 percent or more graduate and 90 percent or more are accepted to college. U Prep’s campuses were built by the Thompson Educational Foundation whose initiatives are focused on creating educational opportunities for Detroit youth. visit for more information today.