The SkillsUSA Challenge Kicks Off to Support the Workforce of the Future

As 3D printing has become more and more mainstream, the traditional resource and skills barriers for manufacturing companies are evolving. This trend is changing the very face of education and manufacturing employment programs across the globe.

Today’s manufacturing economy has evolved into a customer-centered model that stresses speed of delivery, product value and a positive customer experience and 3D printing—with its capability to produce customized products quickly—perfectly addresses that model, but where many manufacturers struggle to meet these new market demands is in hiring and workforce planning. The availably of a well-qualified labor force to implement and oversee these new process dynamics is critical to the factory of the future.

SME and Skills USA, two organizations we’ve partnered with, are committed to developing, supporting and advocating for a new manufacturing workforce.  To meet this challenge, Stratasys has partnered with SME to get additive manufacturing added to the coveted SkillsUSA national competition. SkillsUSA, Stratasys and SME are driven by similar missions – all are both dedicated to providing skills gap solutions and filling talent pipelines.  Timothy Lawrence, executive director of SkillsUSA added “By partnering, we can truly make an impact on the manufacturing industry by engaging educators and students, to drive interest in career options and high-tech possibilities.”

The SkillsUSA Additive Manufacturing Contest, developed by Stratasys with the help of SME to support the growth of design centered experiences at both the secondary and post-secondary levels, kicked off this week with a uniquely additive manufacturing challenge that stresses the importance of  both finding a solution and the approach the design and redesign process.  Stratasys has been on the ground throughout the entire contest to provide engineering support in addition to the seven onsite printers.  The importance of failing fast and moving forward once issues are identified will be a valuable and honed skill for future additive manufacturing professionals.

3D printing has opened the door to a new huge space of design and manufacturing possibilities and this space is only growing with the introduction of new printing materials, finer printing resolution, and the ability to print with multiple materials simultaneously. The combination of new geometric representations, new design paradigms, and new possibilities leads to challenges and opportunities for employers and the global workforce like never before.

For more information about SkillsUSA contact us!

Students prepare for the design phase of the Skills USA Contest. They are tasked with designing and creating a track piece that is capable of moving a marble.
Participants discuss their ramp designs at the Skills USA Contest.
Gina Scala

Gina Scala is Stratasys’ director of marketing for worldwide education where she works to listen to the voice of the education customer and translate that into meaningful marketing messages and product solutions that meet teaching and learning needs for schools. Prior to this role she served as Vice President of education & professional development at the Direct Marketing Association. Gina has a strong background in both marketing and education. Prior to DMA, she served as Director of Marketing for a global professional development company, Editure, where she was responsible for the marketing strategy and development for six subsidiary companies. She also worked for education publishers: Sadlier, delivering in-service training, and Pearson Education as an educational product manager. Scala holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from the Pennsylvania State University, a MA in special education from The College of New Jersey and she is a credentialed teacher in the state of NJ. She is most proud however of her two amazing children who inspire her each day as they learn about the world around them.

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