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September 21, 2023 | Tom Ballard

America’s Cutting Edge expands to Minnesota

The Badger State becomes the ninth to operate a regional machine tool training center.

The Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI), in partnership with Department of Defense’s Manufacturing Capability Expansion and Investment Prioritization (MCEIP) office, has announced an expansion of America’s Cutting Edge (ACE) into Minnesota.

A national initiative aimed at revitalizing U.S. manufacturing, ACE is adding two new innovation and workforce development centers in MinnesotaSt. Cloud State University (SCSU) and the University of St. Thomas. Focused on different rural and urban populations, both schools together are taking a strategic approach to provide essential training in manufacturing across the entire state.

ACE has existing regional machine tool training centers in Florida, KentuckyNew JerseyNorth CarolinaOhioTennesseeTexas, and West Virginia. Each provides free online and in-person training in the machine tool industry – training that’s key to America’s national security and continued economic vitality.

The two Minnesota universities are taking different approaches. In addition to offering ACE to its engineering students, St. Thomas is targeting specific audiences like incumbent workers and veterans. At St. Cloud State, the programming is built around a 53-foot semi-trailer that will serve as a mobile training center, ideal for reaching rural communities throughout Minnesota.

Launched in 2020, ACE is a public-private partnership established between MCEIP’s Industrial Base Analysis and Sustainment program, the Department of Energy’s Manufacturing Demonstration Center at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and IACMI. Managed by IACMI, ACE aims to close the skills gap and restore American dominance in machine tool technology and innovation.

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