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June 27, 2024 | Tom Ballard

America’s Cutting Edge celebrates 10,000 online registrations

The program was launched in December 2020 and now claims registrants from all 50 states.

About three and one-half years after America’s Cutting Edge (ACE) was launched, the initiative that is managed by the Knoxville-based Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI) just celebrated its 10,000th online registration.

Soon after its launch in December 2020, the program got its start with its first online registrant. Not long thereafter, in-person Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machining training began in 2021. Several other online courses have been added. And almost three dozen partners from 12 states are now a part of the ACE network.

Appropriately, the 10,000th person to register was Jenifer Lawrie, a FIRST Robotics Mentor and Coach at Webb School of Knoxville. That’s even though the 10,000 people who have registered for an ACE online course come from all 50 states.

“As a high school science teacher and a FIRST Robotics competition coach, I push my students to develop new technical and machining skills,” Lawrie said. “Registering for ACE courses online allows me to work through course content with my students, offering encouragement for them as they develop knowledge for career and college engineering, and as they go on to complete in-person training. This opportunity helps me to become a better mentor for my high school students, as I build my understanding of machining and mechanical design.”

For the past three and a half years, most registrants have picked the flagship CNC machining course; nearly 8,000 individuals have taken that step to improve their resume. Metrology has been a popular second choice, with more than 1,200 people taking the two-hour course. Soon, it will have its own bootcamp after a handful of participants took part in the first in-person training in April.

America’s Cutting Edge, supported by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Industrial Base Analysis and Sustainment program, is a national CNC machine training program designed to reestablish American leadership in the machine tool industry through transformative thinking, technological innovation, and workforce development. The curriculum combines advanced training tools and techniques from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK), the scientific expertise of the Department of Energy’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the proven workforce development capabilities of IACMI.

ACE has expanded beyond the initial testbed of UTK to include seven training hubs at North Carolina A&T State UniversityTexas A&M Engineering Experiment StationMarshall University Advanced Manufacturing CenterUniversity of FloridaSt. Cloud State University (Minn.) and University of St. Thomas (Minn).

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