Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow (LIFT) and the Northern Kentucky Industry Council today announced a manufacturing-focused externship program for high school and community college teachers. Expected to launch in summer 2015, the Kentucky Advanced Manufacturing Externship will provide business partners and teachers in the state with an opportunity to learn how technical and academic course content is used in real-world manufacturing settings. Download Factsheet

“Educators remain critical facilitators to develop and cultivate connections between academic and technical skills,” said Larry Brown, executive director, LIFT. “Completion of a manufacturing externship will significantly influence the teachers’ future instruction and their ability to add to students’ understanding of manufacturing and the vast career opportunities available in the region.”

Because lightweighting in the commercial and defense transportation manufacturing sectors is still new and emerging, many Kentucky teachers do not yet possess the expertise, knowledge or materials necessary to introduce students to career pathways related to lightweighting technologies. In order to develop teachers’ understanding of lightweight metals and new technologies, the Externship initiative will connect teams of teachers, consisting of both technical and academic instructors, with local manufacturing businesses to collaborate on how classroom learning is applied in the workplace, and how to apply the manufacturing experience back into the classroom.

“There is a growing disconnect between employer demand for certain knowledge and skills – largely driven by the infusion of new technologies in the manufacturing workplace — and what is being taught in the classroom,” said Emily Stover DeRocco, education and workforce director, LIFT. “The goals of our Externship are to remove the negative stigma surrounding manufacturing employment and to provide educators and students with the knowledge and expertise needed to meet current and future employer demand.”

That demand is expected to rise in the next 20 years as nearly 20 percent of workers in lightweight-related manufacturing occupations are 55 years or older and are nearing retirement.

“This is the first project of its kind in Northern Kentucky,” said Dr. Dianne Leveridge, PMP, Kentucky Community & Technical College System. “New relationships developing between area employers, schools and instructors through the Externship initiative help lay the foundation for future collaborations and partnerships here.

The Kentucky Advanced Manufacturing Externship project will be lead by the Kentucky Community & Technical College System. Partners include Bosch, Hahn Automation, Mubea Inc., Steinkamp Molding, Boone County Public Schools, Kenton County Public Schools and Grant County Public Schools.

For more information on the Kentucky Advanced Manufacturing Externship program and other LIFT education and workforce development initiatives, please visit or contact the LIFT director of education and workforce at

Download the KY Externships Factsheet

ABOUT LIFT: Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow (LIFT) is part of the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation and serves as the nation’s essential bridge between basic research and final product commercialization for lightweight metals. The Institute’s world-class facilities and technology development capabilities provide the “right” solutions for the nation’s defense and commercial transportation sectors to promote American competitiveness, energy efficiency, defense readiness, and economic growth.

© 2016 Kentucky Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education