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Re: Kaitlyn Buss’s May 13 column “Software engineers: Please apply here”: Buss was exactly right when she wrote “The regional talent shortage in the advanced manufacturing industry sounds like tomorrow’s problem. But if we don’t radically adjust how we view automaking, manufacturing and other proverbially ‘dirty’ jobs and increase our support for science, technology, engineering and math (commonly called STEM) in schools and homes, Michigan could lose the next wave of auto development.”

That statement holds true for software engineering jobs, but also welding, casting and other jobs looked down upon as one, or all, of the three D’s: “dumb, dirty and dangerous.”

Recently, we invited nearly 100 people from the manufacturing industry, government, research facilities, and academic institutions to Detroit to discuss the path forward technologically for our organization, Lightweight Innovations For Tomorrow (LIFT), one of the institutes in the National Network of Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI).

While the discussion was focused primarily on what the technology trends were and what innovations our members would explore, much of the discussion came back to the need for a skilled workforce to take the advanced manufacturing jobs of tomorrow.

Changing the mindset regarding manufacturing was the impetus for creating the NNMI and its eight institutes across the country, including LIFT here in Corktown.

Not only is our goal to accelerate innovation and bring new manufacturing processes to the marketplace, we are also investing in education and workforce development initiatives here in Detroit, with groups like Focus: HOPE and Goodwill Industries, and others across the Midwest.

We agree with Buss and encourage others across the state and region to help make the U.S., and Detroit, global leaders in advanced manufacturing.

Lawrence Brown, executive director

Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow

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