The US is poised to regain global leadership in manufacturing and Virginia – with over 3,100 manufacturers – is well positioned to be a national leader. We believe the Intensive Immersive Educational Experience (I2E2) is the key to moving Virginia manufacturers into that leadership position by developing the workforce they need. Innovation and technological advances are rapidly transforming US manufacturing. Production lines are being streamlined and processes automated. The skills required of “advanced” manufacturing workers have likewise evolved. Worker skills have not kept pace with the needs of the factory floor. The resulting “skills gap” has produced 600,000 unfilled manufacturing jobs nationally.
Manufacturing as a team sport
I2E2 is built on the premise that successful operations depend on interdisciplinary collaboration, from concept to design and engineering through production. I2E2 immerses students in a hands-on, real-world manufacturing project, where the project is a vehicle for learning. Mimicking the way team sports are coached, I2E2 instructors/coaches assign positions and use drills and scrimmages to develop individual and team performance. Player/learners are assigned positions on the “project” field, but play can be stopped at any time to address weaknesses, correct errors or engage in reflective discussion before resuming play. By the time the project is completed, learners are “game-ready.” Not only have they honed the skills to effectively play their own positions, but learners also have a better understanding and appreciation of how all of the individual and collective roles impact the team.
I2E2 occurs within a cellular manufacturing environment at the R&D CAMEE Advanced Manufacturing Center (AMC); implementation of the cellular methods is considered to be the key enabler of increased production velocity and flexibility, and reduction of capital requirements. The working envelope of the AMC lab is configured to promote these advantages and to provide access to diverse advanced manufacturing technologies and material usage. This diversity encourages experience and exposure to multiple industries, and the products and process represented within their specific manufacturing infrastructure.
The innovative projects at the core of the immersive learning experience are designed, engineered and prototyped internally by the R&D CAMEE staff. The comprehensive activities associated with this approach to product development are documented and then subsequently leveraged integrated into the educational content of a future I2E2 event. This working strategy replicates the full cycle of the design-to-build process found within private sector manufacturing and provides the interdisciplinary, collective experience for I2E2 event participants.
Customizable and scalable
I2E2 training options include short-course immersive modules conducted at the R&D CAMEE AMC or at the customer’s facility. The R&D CAMEE AMC houses a 5-axis CNC Machining Center, Water- and Laser- Jet Technology, and 2 CAD/CAM computer labs; training can also be tailored to meet the customer’s machine- and product specific needs.