The Department of Defense (DoD) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have launched a new online Open edX platform for advanced manufacturing technologies education at www.manufacturingworkforce.org. The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD(R&E)) developed the site in partnership with MIT’s Initiative for Knowledge and Innovation in Manufacturing (IKIM). The site uses Open edX technology to bring accessible, digital learning to advanced manufacturing engineering students, professionals, and technicians.
“The platform is a tangible example of the Department’s commitment to educating the next generation of U.S. science and technology leaders,” said Ms. Barbara McQuiston, performing the duties of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research & Engineering. “I am extremely grateful that DoD is partnering with MIT for this venture. Our MIT colleagues understand the value of public-private partnerships to foster technological talent and to ensure the continued dominance of the U.S. research and engineering enterprise.”
The site currently features two on-demand, self-paced photonics courses that MIT developed in partnership with AIM Photonics, a DoD Manufacturing Innovation Institute (MII) that receives funding and support from OUSD(R&E). AIM and IKIM expect to add five additional integrated photonics courses to the site in Summer 2021. Each course features top instructors, including MIT professors; Naval Research Laboratory scientists; and private sector engineers.
IKIM also plans to add resources on flexible hybrid electronics (FHE) to the platform in the future. NextFlex, the DoD MII focused on FHE, will provide these resources to supplement their FlexFactor® program. FlexFactor® introduces middle and high school students across the country to advanced manufacturing technologies and facilitates student opportunities to work directly with FHE industry leaders.
AIM and NextFlex are two of DoD’s nine MIIs. Each institute focuses on a critical technology area to maintain our Nation’s technological advantage and strengthen the U.S. industrial base. Since the establishment of the first institute in 2012, the Federal Government has committed almost $1.2 billion in funding to the institutes. A network of over 1,500 organizations from academia, industry and state governments has committed an additional $2 billion in cost share to the MIIs.
“A critical component of the institutes’ work is promoting student education and workforce development, which is key to maintaining a strong U.S. industrial base that can design and manufacture the cutting-edge technology our Warfighters need,” said Robert Gold, Director of OUSD(R&E)’s Technology and Manufacturing Industrial Base Office that provides direct program support to the MIIs. “This new platform provides an excellent career building resource for students and professionals in advanced manufacturing technologies, and we are excited to see how the platform will evolve and expand.”
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