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America’s Cutting Edge hits 3,000 online registrations

America’s Cutting Edge (ACE) just registered its 3,000th person for its free online machine training program.

His name is Marcus Beamon.

“I was a painter for a long time, and you never knew when your next job would be. Manufacturing offers constant work, and I like that,” he said in a release.

ACE was started by Tony Schmitz, a professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and Joint Faculty at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. It is a national initiative to restore the prominence of the U.S. machine tools sector. The ACE training focuses on Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machining fundamentals but is geared toward anyone interested in manufacturing.

“I’m 34 years old, this is my first job in manufacturing, and I’m really excited about my future,” said Beamon.

Marcus Beamon. Credit: ACE

Both the 6-hour online course and the 32-hour in-person training require no prior experience and are offered at no cost.

Since launching in December 2020, ACE online has attracted a diverse group of 3,000 registrants from all 50 states. It’s been most popular in Tennessee and North Carolina but is gaining traction in Texas as well.

“Whoever you are, wherever you are, there is a place for you in manufacturing, and ACE is a pathway for realizing your dreams,” said Adele Ratcliff, Director of the Department of Defense’s Industrial Base Analysis and Sustainment (IBAS) program, the core funding supporter for ACE. “This training can be a pathway to prosperity for you and your community while contributing to the economic security of our country.”

Starting in a new field can be intimidating, but people like Beamon are convinced ACE is the stepping stone to having not just a job but a career.

“I’m grateful for work that’s as guaranteed as it gets,” he said. “I’m ready for whatever’s next.”

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