MakerMinded Online STEM Education Student Competition Goes Live in Detroit

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Platform and Competition are Igniting Advanced Manufacturing Learning Across Detroit Public Schools

January 29, Detroit, MI—Today, LIFT—Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow, a national ManufacturingUSA institute, in partnership with Detroit Public Schools Community District and Tennessee Tech University’s iCube, launched MakerMinded, an online Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) learning and educational activity platform for Detroit middle and high school students.

The MakerMinded platform impassions and educates students about advanced manufacturing and provides them with transformational STEM learning experiences and skills that set them on track towards advanced manufacturing careers.

MakerMinded’s online platform,, will connect Detroit’s middle and high school students to hundreds of leading-edge STEM and advanced manufacturing education experiences, while linking them to the national student-driven MakerMinded campaign. The platform’s goal is to provide students access to the right programs that will encourage and prepare them for further education and careers in advanced manufacturing while recognizing students’ achievements in STEM and career and technical learning.

“Manufacturers across the country fear a widening skills gap, which could result in 2 million jobs going unfilled unless we take action now to prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s jobs,” said Emily DeRocco, director, education and workforce, LIFT. “MakerMinded shows the magic that happens when we empower young people with the opportunities, inspiration, and tools they need to gain in-demand skills and pursue meaningful careers.”

This year’s goal is to sign on 50 schools across the Detroit Public School Community District and award the top performing schools for their engagement in MakerMinded advanced manufacturing programs in May 2018.

“Our partnership with LIFT aligns to our mission to strengthen Detroit’s public schools and our priority to improve the whole child while increasing student achievement,” said Alycia Meriweather, DPSCD, Deputy Superintendent.  “MakerMinded will provide a platform for hands-on, real-world skills, unique experiences and confidence students need to thrive in our city, our nation, and our world, and become tomorrow’s advanced manufacturing leaders."

How it Works

The platform includes a searchable database of both national and local student programs, including on-line and in-person experiences, from manufacturing facility tours to engineering design challenges to technical skills competitions. As students complete activities and programs, schools receive points and compete against other schools in Detroit. The competition culminates in a recognition event and prizes for the schools accumulating the most points for completing the most activities.

To officially launch MakerMinded, 150 students from middle and high schools across the city will gather at LIFT Headquarters to tour the new high bay facility—which includes $50 million in manufacturing technology and equipment—interact with engineers, and learn about 21st century opportunities in advanced manufacturing.

Students, teachers and schools interested in joining the MakerMinded campaign can sign up at:

About LIFT – Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow

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 metal 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.

About iCube

Tennessee Tech University’s iCube is a place where students and faculty Imagine, Inspire, and Innovate. We are a leader in advancing collaborative solutions with extensive experience in public policy marketing campaigns and virtual reality development. To learn more about our center, please visit