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IGNITE: Mastering Manufacturing | Preparing Students for a Bright Future

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Are your Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs preparing your students for the highly-skilled, high-paying jobs available throughout industry today? IGNITE: Mastering Manufacturing combines self-directed eLearning with real-world equipment to teach students the hands-on, transferable skills industry needs.

Technology is transforming the way the world does business, and educational institutions must evolve to meet the changing demands of industry. The jobs of the future are increasingly technical and technology-driven. Unfortunately, current and future demand for the types of workers industry needs far exceeds supply, creating what is now commonly known as the “skills gap.”

In fact, one of the most common questions heard throughout industry today is: Where Are All the Highly-Skilled Workers? Administrators and CTE instructors are thus faced with a challenge: how to prepare students for the jobs of the future.

So thanks to funding by the Department of Defense, the Manufacturing USA Institutes developed a competency model foundation for the “multi-skilled technician” needed in today’s manufacturing workplace. That model has been translated to an educational pathway that recognizes the next generation of manufacturing technical workforce must, in fact, be a workforce of high-skilled technicians who:

  • Possess knowledge, skills, and abilities
  • Understand materials science
  • Optimize manufacturing technologies, processes, and systems

Due in part to varying employment needs, significant challenges await manufacturers who need workers with “up-scaled” knowledge and skills, known as advanced manufacturing. The requirements mean the U.S. has to teach and train our next generation of manufacturers differently.

Many educational institutions have intensified their efforts to dedicate more resources to teaching science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects. However, teaching STEM subjects alone is not enough. Educators must align programs with the needs of the evolving workplace to produce students prepared for the technical and technology-driven jobs available throughout industry today.

IGNITE: Mastering Manufacturing Prepares High School Students for Successful Careers in Industry

IGNITE: Mastering Manufacturing was developed by subject-matter experts with guidance from industry leaders and educational institutions to ensure that students interested in a rewarding career in modern industry can make an immediate contribution in the workplace without hundreds of hours of additional training. The IGNITE curriculum combines theory and concept learning with project-based experiences built around real industry problems and challenges, to assist students in mastering manufacturing. It is presented in an interactive multimedia format designed to engage students and enhance retention.

Using IGNITE , students will be exposed to a variety of industries and technologies. The student goals of the program include:

  • Provide a Foundation in Material Sciences: Preparation for entry into the world of design
  • Introduction to Advanced Manufacturing: Explore product design to product fabrication
  • Develop Core & Technology Specific Skills: Optimize manufacturing technologies, processes, and systems
  • Preparation for Smart Factories: Includes Industry 4.0 & the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)

Designed around project-based learning, IGNITE: Mastering Manufacturing consists of six courses in a modular format that allows school to roll out IGNITE as a one-, two-, or three-year program. It includes highly-interactive eLearning curriculum, computer simulations, design projects,  and hands-on workstations.

Ignite: Mastering Manufacturing Training Program Overview

Students begin with foundational topics, such as safety, measurement, hand tools, print reading, and materials science. They then move on to learn relevant knowledge and hands-on skills related to a wide variety of topics essential in modern industry, including: AC/DC electricity; fluid power; machine tools; mechanical drives; electrical relay control; computer-aided design and manufacturing; CNC machine operation and programming; materials engineering; electrical fabrication; plastics and mold design; welding; and lean manufacturing.

where creativity and design meet industry 4.0Where Creativity and Design Meet Industry 4.0

To ensure students are prepared for the technologically-advanced roles they will be expected to fill, IGNITE: Mastering Manufacturing also teaches them the core concepts and relevant technical skills associated with the advanced technologies commonly found throughout modern industry, also known as Industry 4.0.

Industry 4.0 refers to the Fourth Industrial Revolution in which cyber-physical systems, automation, and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) are combining to create a smart factory environment. The synergies created by these exciting new technologies promise huge gains in industrial efficiency and productivity. Using IGNITE’s cutting-edge curriculum, students will be introduced to the powerful world of Industry 4.0, including: programmable controllers, electronic sensors, robot programming, CAD/CAM applications, PLC troubleshooting, ethernet switch networks, data analytics, mechatronics systems, and much more.

Even in the midst of ever-increasing automation, however, uniquely-human, “soft” skills remain important. IGNITE: Mastering Manufacturing addresses these needs by providing training in essential common employability skills, such as communications, presentations, and teamwork.

IGNITE Combines eLearning, Virtual Trainers, and Hands-On Skills with Real-World Equipment

To engage and reach students with a variety of learning styles, IGNITE: Mastering Manufacturing features a robust combination of learning methods to provide an outstanding learning experience that includes both comprehensive theoretical knowledge and practical, hands-on skills valuable throughout industry. Examples include:


The IGNITE eLearning curriculum offers flexible, self-directed technical training with comprehensive content and exceptional interactivity for practical skill development. It features a highly-interactive, multimedia format that includes stunning 3D graphics and videos, voiceovers of all text, and interactive exercises designed to appeal to learners with different learning styles.

To help instructor’s gauge student comprehension and engagement, the curriculum also includes assessment quizzes, as well as classroom-based skills assessment via Amatrol’s exclusive Skill Boss Manufacturing performance assessment tool.

To learn more about interactive eLearning, click here.

Virtual Trainers

The IGNITE curriculum features Virtual Trainers, which replicate hands-on equipment in such great detail that learners will feel like they are using the actual equipment. Learners perform essentially the same tasks using virtual trainers that they would using the hands-on systems, bringing industrial realism to online learning. Amatrol’s Virtual Trainers:

  • Build essential skills without access to actual equipment — Ideal for distance learning!
  • Exist in open workspace — Not forced along predetermined steps
  • Reduce hands-on time with equipment to complete skill mastery

To learn more about hands-on Virtual Trainers, click here.

Hands-On Skills with Real-World Equipment

teach industry-relevant, hands-on skills

The IGNITE program uses Amatrol’s hands-on training systems, which are designed by engineers and subject-matter experts and hand-crafted, assembled, welded, wired, and painted at Amatrol’s facility in Jeffersonville, Indiana. These systems are loaded with real-world, industrial components to enable students to practice on the type of equipment they will encounter on the job. These heavy-duty systems stand up to frequent use by inexperienced users. Examples of the types of hands-on training systems used in the IGNITE: Mastering Manufacturing program include:

Course 1: Introduction to Advanced Manufacturing

Course 2: Introduction to Systems

In addition to the types of equipment used in Course 1, Course 2 (Introduction to Systems) also uses the following equipment:

Course 3: Mechatronics Systems

In addition to the types of equipment used in Courses 1 and 2, Course 3 also uses the following equipment:

IGNITE Mastering Manufacturing Web Page - Training Systems

Course 4: Digital Manufacturing Systems

In addition to the types of equipment used in Courses 1, 2, and 3, Course 4 also uses the following equipment:

Course 5: Advanced Materials & Design

In addition to the types of equipment used in Courses 1-4, Course 5 also uses the following equipment:

Course 6: IIoT, Data Analytics, & Networking

In addition to the types of equipment used in Courses 1-5, Course 6 also uses the following equipment:

IGNITE Features Exciting Team and Individual Projects That Challenge Students’ Problem-Solving and Troubleshooting Skills

Team Projects and Mini Projects

As students progress through each IGNITE: Mastering Manufacturing course, they will also work in teams on exciting team projects and mini-projects using industry-specific new and emerging technologies and equipment to solve real-world problems. Through each project, teams will research ideas, develop multiple solutions, analyze and select the best solution, build a prototype, and evaluate their results.

The projects also provide students with an additional opportunity to learn and practice common employability skills. These skills are foundational to success in the workplace regardless of a person’s career field or professional position. They include competencies such as communications skills, the ability to work on a team, and problem solving.

Team Projects IGNITE: Mastering ManufacturingTeam Projects:

Team Projects allow students to learn critical problem-solving, teamwork, and troubleshooting skills by participating in individual and team projects. 

Solar-Powered Fuel Cell
Automatic-Controlled Hydroponic Garden
Ergonomic Workstation
Automated Can Crusher
Smart House Control System
Solar-Powered Clean Water & Power
Drone Delivery Service
Production Cell with Secured Networks



Mini-Projects are hands-on activities enabling students to apply what they have learned in the related core technology lesson.

Easy Rider Computer Workstation
Bagel Dough Mixing Machine
Make A Statement With Logos
Fastest Most Accurate Material Handling System
Pizza Oven Door Control
Couch Potato Paradise
Stealth Toy Design
Introduction To Materials Science
Lightweight And Safer Cars
Shoe Design & House Design Challenge
and Many More!

Additional Resources:

For additional resources on how IGNITE: Mastering Manufacturing can revolutionize your training program, check out the following articles:



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