The power of three. No, I’m not talking about the meaning of the Triquetra, the Irish Trinity Knot; the Holy Trinity; the power of body, mind and soul; the Third Rock from the Sun (Earth); the Three Musketeers, the Three Stooges or even the Three Pillars of Chinese Culture.

We teach it in the MT Sales Fundamentals workshop. When you’re trying to explain your company, your product or a concept, always use no more than three bullet points to get your message across to your audience.

In AMT’s Manufacturing Mandate, we focus on: incentivizing Research and Development and innovations in new products and manufacturing technologies; increasing global competitiveness; building a better-educated and trained Smartforce.

Each of those three areas of focus has its own three-legged stool foundation. For Smartforce Development, we focus on: supporting grants, scholarships and academic challenges in schools; implementing national manufacturing skills certifications through organizations like NIMS and AWS; and supporting Advanced Manufacturing Technology and Engineering programs at community colleges and universities, while emphasizing apprenticeships, internships and mentorships.

At a Smartforce Development Committee meeting in late-September, the committee agreed that our tactical focus for the coming IMTS year would be: completing the update and publication of the NIMS Standards for Field Service Technicians, Level I for Industrial Maintenance Technicians (Mechatronics) and for Machine Repair Level II and III; supporting Career Pathways documentation; and continuously improving the Smartforce Student Summit.

For exhibit partners at the Smartforce Student Summit at IMTS 2016, we want to engage with companies that have a passion for and a focus on education, that will exhibit innovative products and services for the education market, and can engage students in interactive challenges. 

Typically, the student body that has attended the student summits of the past have come from secondary schools (middle schools and high schools) and post-secondary schools (community colleges and universities). For the next student summit, we look forward to welcoming elementary schools to IMTS as well. 

Many AMT members and Board members have encouraged us to “go younger” in our student summit audience reach. At the student summit at IMTS 2014, we welcomed 350 students from Azuela Elementary School in Chicago. The students arrived in uniform, with the proper number of teachers and parent chaperones. They were very well behaved and many of the students came away from IMTS with a high level of interest in manufacturing. We want to assure that we can continue to reach a younger audience like them.

At the same time, we feel that we can improve the experience for those students in community college and engineering programs who are nearing workforce readiness. In addition to the traditional student summit passport, welcome and orientation with hands-on, interactive challenges and displays, we’re adding a third component to the next student summit in the form of a career fair.

We want every student who is looking for an internship or a job in manufacturing to have an opportunity to find one by using IMTS and, AMT’s member job board that we promote exclusively to schools as their career launch pad.

Our outreach to schools begins this month, and we’re excited about what’s ahead over the months preceding IMTS.

Do you remember the old manual transmissions that were affectionately referred to as “Three on the Tree”? As we shift into high gear in preparation for the Smartforce Student Summit at IMTS 2016, we look forward to the support of all AMT members and IMTS exhibitors in welcoming the next generation of the manufacturing workforce to experience the new world of manufacturing technology.