The Smartforce Student Summit at IMTS 2016 will be the tenth iteration of the student summit at IMTS. This event presents us with an opportunity to introduce our industry to the potential next generation of engineers, designers, machinists, welders and other professionals.

Along the way, we’ve learned a great deal about how to impress students and to encourage them to seek a career in our industry. Certainly, in recent years, the national conversation around Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) has helped our overall efforts, and it’s always a plus when your industry has the ability to do things that create a “WOW! factor”—like 3D printing a car, the Strati, at an event like IMTS.

We’ve also learned that we can allow younger students to attend the summit. They can act respectfully and not be disruptive as they tour IMTS. This year, we’re encouraging more school systems to bring elementary and middle school age students. We believe that reaching students at a younger age will be an overall plus in our broader efforts to bridge the skills gap.

At the other end of the spectrum, we’ve learned that by focusing our message to students who are in career and technical education (CTE) programs, community college programs and engineering schools, we can attract more students who are nearing workforce readiness and who might attend IMTS in search of internships and jobs.

This year, the Student Summit will have an aerospace theme, and we’re excited about all of our exhibit partners and the cool 3D printing, machining, robotics and aerospace-inspired components that are coming together to support our theme.

In keeping with the theme and to serve students who are prepared for a career in our industry, we’ve added a new Smartforce Career Launch Pad to the student summit. At IMTS 2014, nearly 5,000 of the 17,000+ students who attended the summit came from 34 states to not just see the latest innovations in manufacturing technology, but also to learn more about their career options, and we hope that that number will grow in 2016.

The Smartforce Career Launch Pad will be held in Room N-228 near the registration area for the student summit, and we invite all AMT members and IMTS exhibitors to apply to participate in the Career Launch Pad.

The Career Launch Pad event is for entry-level employees only. We focus only on students and schools at our career fair, and we’ll use the AMT member job board,, as the online match-making platform for the career launch pad. Regular IMTS attendees will not be permitted entrance to the career launch pad.

Students have already begun registering for the Student Summit and the Career Launch Pad, so if you are interested in posting your entry-level job openings, you can do so at There is no cost for AMT members and IMTS exhibitors to exhibit in the Career Launch Pad, but there is a nominal fee for posting your open, entry-level positions on

For more information about recruiting students by participating with a booth in the Career Launch Pad, contact Greg Jones at or 703-827-5203.

For more frequent updates about Smartforce Development, follow me on Twitter @GregoryAJones.