MakerMinded Goes Live in Kentucky

MakerMinded Goes Live in Kentucky

Today LIFT – Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow, a national manufacturing institute, in partnership with Tennessee Tech University’s iCube, the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers and the Foundation for Kentucky Industry unveiled MakerMinded, a new online STEM learning and competition platform.  The multi-pronged platform will help impassion students about advanced manufacturing and provide them with transformational STEM learning experiences that set them on track towards 21st century manufacturing careers.  Kentucky and Tennessee are the first states to launch this national initiative.

MakerMinded’s digital platform,, is connecting Kentucky students to leading-edge STEM and advanced manufacturing education experiences, while galvanizing participating students and schools around a student-driven, pro-manufacturing campaign and competition. The platform’s goal in the first year is to onboard students in 100 middle and high schools, giving them access to the right programs that will encourage and prepare them for further education and careers in advanced manufacturing. Examples of programs included on the platform are Project Lead the Way, project-based STEM curriculum; Science Olympiad, science challenges; and the “LIFT Assembly Line” Virtual Reality game.

“Manufacturers across the country lament a widening skills gap—which is projected to leave 2 million jobs unfilled over the next decade if we don’t act now to engage and prepare a skilled workforce,” said Emily DeRocco, Director, Education and Workforce Development, LIFT. “MakerMinded is a game-changing strategy that has the potential to re-write the future of not only manufacturing, but of today’s young students, who need the inspiration, experiences and skills to pursue meaningful careers.”

“In Kentucky, there are no longer jobs in manufacturing—we like to say Manufacturing = Careers! Kentucky manufacturers are the number one contributor to Kentucky’s GDP, accounting for 19.4 percent, or more than $36 billion of the total output in the state, employing well over 12 percent of Kentucky’s workforce,” said Greg Higdon, President & CEO, Kentucky Association of Manufacturers. “We are proud to collaborate with MakerMinded and participate in their launch in Kentucky, where their efforts will enable our secondary and postsecondary schools to fill the workforce of the future with skilled and highly motivated employees.”

“It is essential that we inspire, engage and educate students early in their development so that the pathway they choose helps them better prepare for relevant careers in today’s economy,” said GE Appliances Manufacturing Learning and Initiatives Leader Kent Suiters. “MakerMinded is an innovative way of engaging students in, and with, advanced manufacturing. It is an important addition to our campaign to motivate more students to prepare for a career in manufacturing.”

“MakerMinded provides opportunities for students to participate in manufacturing in ways that new generations of students are craving – engagement on steroids if you will – with projects and activities that truly connect them with the real world,” said Laura Arnold, Associate Commissioner, Office of Career and Technical Education.  “In the process, we are also changing the perception of manufacturing as a career choice.”

MakerMinded will host four launch events across the Commonwealth to kick-off the campaign:

Morehead, KY
Date: Wednesday, February 22 from 4:00 – 6:30 pm
Location: Craft Academy at Morehead State University

The Craft Academy for Excellence in Science and Mathematics will be hosting an open house for students in the Morehead area. They will be introduced to Craft Academy’s Makerspace, which houses activities relating to electronics, computer programming, 3D printing, mechanical design, and more. The event will also include a guided tour of Morehead State University’s Space Science Center, followed by a showing at the Star Theater. Those who attend this event will earn MakerMinded points for participating. This event is open to all students.

Walton, KY
Date: Thursday, February 23 from 4:00 – 5:30 pm
Location: Safran Landing Systems

Students will get a firsthand look at manufacturing at the Safran Landing Systems industrial facility. At the plant, which is currently expanding to increase production capacity, students will learn about what goes into manufacturing and refurbishing aircraft wheels and carbon brakes. They will talk to Safran employees about what the job environment is like and will participate in a guided walking tour. Students who attend will then submit points on MakerMinded for the launch event.  This event is open to all students.

Louisville, KY
Date: Friday, February 24 from 9:30 am – 12:00 pm
Location: GE Appliance Park

Doss High School students participating in a job shadow experience at GE Appliance Park will learn about MakerMinded as part of their half-day experience. They will have the benefit of earning MakerMinded points as they hear from employees in operations, maintenance, and engineering, tour a factory and engage in hands-on activities. This is a closed event.

Lexington, KY
Date: Saturday, February 25 from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
Location: University of Kentucky

Engineers Day (or E-Day) falls at the end of National Engineers Week and celebrates everything engineering has to offer! Students will have the chance to see more than 100 exhibits from professional organizations at the event, many of which are hands-on, interactive, or even contests. Prizes range from pieces of candy to UK merchandise to tablets – and students will also be earning MakerMinded points to go toward winning a Virtual Reality system for their school.  This event is open to all students.

Watch the video below to discover how MakerMinded works.

Students and schools interested in joining the MakerMinded campaign should visit

About LIFT – Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow
LIFT is a Detroit-based, public-private partnership committed to the development and deployment of advanced lightweight metal manufacturing technologies, and implementing education and training initiatives to better prepare the workforce today and in the future. LIFT is one of the founding institutes of Manufacturing USA, and is funded in part by the Department of Defense with management through the Office of Naval Research.

About the Foundation for Kentucky Industry
The Foundation is a statewide, not-for-profit, on a mission to strengthen Kentucky’s most valuable economic indicator – manufacturing, and the qualified personnel manufacturing needs to drive it. With support from private and public partners, the Foundation advances innovation and technology through education within the changing culture of manufacturing. For more information contact

About iCube
Tennessee Tech University’s iCube is a place where students and faculty Imagine, Inspire, and Innovate. We are a leader in advancing collaborative solutions with extensive experience in public policy marketing campaigns and virtual reality development. To learn more about our center, please visit

Share this post