FRANKFORT, Kent. – Lightweight Innovations For Tomorrow (LIFT) and the Kentucky Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (KY FAME) today announced the pilot of a statewide rollout of a teacher and instructor externship program with the state’s manufacturers.

The statewide pilot follows the successful 2015 externship program in which LIFT and KY FAME teamed with the Northern Kentucky Industry Council.

In the statewide pilot, LIFT, a Manufacturing USA institute, and KY FAME are working to help up to 135 teachers and instructors connect classroom learning to authentic manufacturing-related activities. These ‘externships’ encourage teachers to use that connection in their classroom instruction, and increase their understanding of emerging technologies such as lightweighting and the opportunities and challenges these technologies pose for students.

“We are thrilled to once again partner with LIFT to roll this program out statewide and reach even more teachers and students, showing them the world of advanced manufacturing,” said Stacey Johnson Hughes, KY FAME board chair, and manager, Human Resources, Logan Aluminum. “Our manufacturers are in need of skilled workers for the jobs available today, and this program will help them fill those vacancies and build the pipeline of talent for jobs down the road.”

The externship experience provides business partners and teams of teachers an opportunity to learn how technical and academic course content is used in a real-world manufacturing setting.

The teacher teams – consisting of both technical and academic instructors – spend up to five days in partnership with an area manufacturing business learning about job and career opportunities and requirements, how classroom learning is applied in the workplace, and how to apply the manufacturing experience back into the classroom.

The business partners then assist teachers in understanding these realities and how to connect manufacturing practices to the content standards they are required to teach students in their respective courses.

“Connecting educators to industry is essential to our efforts to ensure the workforce has the skills and abilities to work on the advanced lightweighting technologies and processes in use today,” said Emily DeRocco, education and workforce development director, LIFT. “KYFAME, its partners and the University of Kentucky Department of Education have the necessary tools and broad reach across the state to help us engage teachers and touch as many students as possible who become better prepared to pursue a career in advanced manufacturing.” KYFAME’s partners include the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers, Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, Kentucky Community and Technical College System, and Kentucky Foundation for Industry.