Click HERE to view Five Frequently-Asked Questions about IGNITE: Mastering Manufacturing as a multimedia presentation.
Amatrol created IGNITE: Mastering Manufacturing to provide high school students with career exploration opportunities and the in-depth technical knowledge and hands-on skills they need to be successful in the highly-skilled, high-pay jobs available in modern advanced manufacturing facilities.
A comprehensive advanced manufacturing training program, IGNITE was developed by Amatrol in conjunction with LIFT – Lightweight Innovations For Tomorrow, including significant contributions from America Makes, MxD – The Digital Manufacturing Institute, The Ohio State University, ASM Materials Education Foundation, and The PAST Foundation.
Subject-matter experts created IGNITE with guidance from industry leaders and educational institutions to ensure that students will be prepared for rewarding careers in advanced manufacturing. IGNITE exposes students to many different facets of modern advanced manufacturing, while allowing instructors the flexibility to encourage student exploration of specific areas they’re excited about.
As interest in IGNITE continues to grow, there are a few frequently-asked questions the experts at Amatrol wanted to answer for curious educators. Read through the questions and answers below and, if you have a question that hasn’t been addressed, contact one of the experts at Amatrol for more information!
1. Can the IGNITE Program Be Built Slowly Over Time?
Designed around project-based learning, the IGNITE program consists of six one-semester courses in a modular format that allows schools to roll out IGNITE as a one-, two-, or three-year program:
- Course 1: Introduction to Advanced Manufacturing
- Course 2: Introduction to Systems
- Course 3: Mechatronic Systems
- Course 4: Digital Manufacturing Systems
- Course 5: Advanced Materials & Design
- Course 6: IIoT, Data Analytics, & Networking
We know building an advanced manufacturing training program from the ground up can seem like a daunting task. That’s why we made it easy to get started with IGNITE. Its flexible, modular format lets you take that first step with confidence, knowing that the experts at Amatrol will be there to help you strategize and plan every step of the way.
For example, a school already using Amatrol’s AC/DC Electrical Learning System (T7017A) to teach basic electricity can easily use that system as a foundation to build upon to start a new IGNITE program. As time and funding allows, additional courses can be added until your goals are achieved.
2. What Type of Instructor Is Needed To Teach IGNITE?
Given the comprehensive scope of the IGNITE program, it’s natural to wonder whether an instructor with particular qualifications is required to oversee the program. Rest assured, though, that IGNITE was designed with the flexibility and instructor resources necessary to enable any instructor qualified to teach career and technical education (CTE) classes to run the program.
For example, the Instructor’s Guide for each IGNITE course contains a flow chart that serves as a guide for how each course can be structured. This guidance will prove invaluable to instructors as they plan their preferred route through the material.
With so many topics to cover and tools to use, instructors also need freedom to make the program serve their students. That’s why we designed IGNITE to include a variety of instructional groupings, including group blocks, pod rotations, mini projects, and field trips. This structure allows instructors to assign eLearning topics to individual students for self-directed study while other students work in groups on pod rotations and mini projects.
As you begin to build your IGNITE program, you can also plan to send instructors to the Amatrol Technical Training Institute (ATTI) in Jeffersonville, Indiana, for instructor training specifically for the IGNITE program. ATTI-trained instructors will leave with the skills and confidence to kick off a successful IGNITE program in their schools.
3. Does IGNITE Teach More Than Just Technical Skills?
To prepare students for success in the modern advanced manufacturing workplace, educators must teach them more than just technical skills. Don’t misunderstand us. Technical skills are essential. However, all the technical skills in the world won’t benefit workers who lack basic communication and teamwork skills.
Too many CTE programs focus exclusively on technical skills, assuming that someone else will teach students the valuable, uniquely-human “soft skills” (also commonly called “common employability skills” or “CES”), such as communication, teamwork, and critical thinking, that are critical to future career success.
That’s why we designed IGNITE to teach both hands-on technical skills and the critical “soft” common employability skills students will need to thrive in the workplace. For example, IGNITE’s group blocks, pod rotations, and mini projects give students important experience with communications, presentations, and teamwork.
IGNITE’s project-based learning activities also focus on key critical thinking and troubleshooting skills. As advanced technologies revolutionize the way modern manufacturers operate, future workers must possess more skills — of all types — than ever before. Using IGNITE, educators can be confident that their students will enter the workforce fully prepared.
4. Does IGNITE Align with Industry-Standard Certifications?
Manufacturers hindered by a persistent skills gap desperately need highly-skilled workers to fill open positions. They won’t take just anyone, however. So how do today’s students prove to manufacturers that they possess the skills they need?
Increasingly, employers look to industry-standard certifications as evidence that potential workers have the relevant skills they need. Certifications endorsed by and developed in conjunction with industry give employers confidence that potential workers will be able to hit the ground running without significant additional training.
Importantly, the IGNITE program prepares students to earn industry-standard certifications that can jump-start their advanced manufacturing careers. IGNITE coursework lays the foundation for students to pursue industry-standard certifications for multiple career pathways.
For example, IGNITE students can choose to pursue certifications like the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC) Certified Production Technician Plus Skill Boss certification or advanced Industry 4.0 certifications from the Smart Automation Certification Alliance (SACA).
5. How Can Local Industry Play a Role in the IGNITE Program?
The most effective CTE programs are those that partner with local industries to ensure that they’re teaching students the relevant skills that employers need. That’s why partnerships between industry and education are essential to building a sustainable pipeline of future talent for manufacturers.
In addition to aligning curriculum with business needs, local industry partners can provide students with important insight into the wide variety of careers available in modern manufacturing facilities. Manufacturing suffers from inaccurate perception problems, so the chance to hear from local industry leaders and even tour facilities can go a long way toward helping students understand the great opportunities that exist.
Once students express an interest in manufacturing as a career path, local industry partners can also offer valuable career guidance. In addition to mentoring interested students, local employers can provide work-based learning opportunities and even allow students to participate in job shadowing events.
Finally, close partnerships between educators and industry experts can help to shape future CTE programs. For example, local employers can offer their expertise to educators in a variety of ways, including offering teacher externships, participating in industry advisory boards at local schools, and even donating or purchasing relevant training equipment.
Contact the Experts at Amatrol Today
Every journey begins with a single step. If you’re ready to learn more about IGNITE: Mastering Manufacturing, it’s time to contact Amatrol.
Experts will consult with you to determine how best to get your students started on their IGNITE journey, including how to make the best use of CTE programs and equipment you already use. With their help, you’ll be sure to spark an interest in manufacturing and light the fire that will propel your students to a rewarding career.
About Duane Bolin
Duane Bolin is a former curriculum developer and education specialist. He is currently a Marketing Content Developer for Amatrol, Inc. Learn more about Amatrol and its technical training solutions, including eLearning, here and connect with Duane on Amatrol’s Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube pages.