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February 07, 2023 | Shannon Smith

Knoxville-based machining workforce program expands with new training centers

America's Cutting Edge is opening three new training centers, all in Florida. Now, five states are using the Knoxville-based program to grow the machining tool workforce.

In an effort to bring machining technology back home to the U.S., a Knoxville-based machine tool workforce program is expanding into yet another state.

America’s Cutting Edge (ACE) is expanding to one university and two state colleges in Florida. These new regional machine tool training centers will be at the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering at the University of Florida (UF) in GainesvillePolk State College in Winter Haven, and Indian River State College in Fort Pierce.

According to this release, ACE now has training centers in Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia, but provides online training nationwide in the machine tool industry. All training options are free for students.

Launched in 2020, ACE is a public-private partnership established between the Department of Defense’s Industrial Base Analysis and Sustainment (IBAS) program and the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).

Managed by the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI), ACE aims to close the skills gap and restore American dominance in machine tool technology and innovation.

Through ACE, a national CNC machining training program was developed by University of Tennessee, Knoxville, (UT) Professor and joint ORNL faculty member Tony Schmitz. More than 3,400 people from all 50 states are engaged in online training and more than 225 have completed in-person boot camps.

“The ACE CNC machining and metrology modules exist, in large part, because I completed my graduate studies at the UF Machine Tool Research Center,” said Schmitz. “It’s so nice to see this connection truly come full circle. They are now part of a machine tool evangelizing community, and we want nothing less than eliminating the shortfall in the manufacturing workforce that exists today.”

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