Smartforce Student Summit at IMTS Engages the Future of Manufacturing

The Smartforce Student Summit will be held for the tenth time at IMTS 2016, offering machining challenges and much more.


Held at every IMTS, the Smartforce Student Summit is a place where students and educators in STEM gather to experience career opportunities and new technologies in manufacturing.

The International Manufacturing Technology Show 2016 (IMTS 2016) features the tenth edition of the Smartforce Student Summit, a place where students and educators in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) gather to experience career opportunities and new technologies as well as machining challenges in manufacturing. The Student Summit is held every day during the show, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the North Building, Hall C. Not only are students in middle school, high school and college welcome; this year, elementary school students are invited to attend as well.

With the chance to see and touch the technologies that make up today’s advanced manufacturing industry, students can discover how they might transform their ideas into reality by understanding the tools, technology and opportunities available to them. Challenge activities, industry exhibitors and the new Smartforce Career Launch Pad (a career fair) are all available this year to students who register for the Student Summit.

“Our focus is for each student to have a quality experience at the Summit,” says Greg Jones, V.P. - Smartforce development at AMT – The Association for Manufacturing Technology. “We are working with our exhibit partners on specific challenges that will better engage the students before they attend the Summit and after they leave IMTS.”

With a theme focused on aerospace, students will engage in all aspects of the manufacturing process. To help students understand the tools and technologies available to them, there will be several hands-on challenges at the event: Art to Part, Weld It!, and Build It!

Networking is also a major benefit of the Summit. Students have the opportunity to communicate with IMTS exhibitors who will set up small booths at the Summit to engage the students.

Students can also meet recruiters from technical schools, community colleges and engineering schools. They will be there to answer questions and help students make decisions about which post-secondary school they might attend after high school graduation.

For students who are already attending a technical school, community college or engineering school and who are nearing workforce readiness, the Student Summit now offers a career fair called Smartforce Career Launch Pad, so they can engage with employers at IMTS looking for interns, apprentices and employees.

During IMTS 2014, the number of Student Summit attendees exceeded 17,000 and these students came from 450 schools. Students primarily came from the Chicago area, however, students who attend community colleges or engineering schools came from 34 states.

“This year, we believe the number will grow,” Mr. Jones says. “The national conversation around STEM has raised awareness about career opportunities in manufacturing, and the Summit should continue to benefit from changing perceptions.”

Emphasizing the importance of STEM careers and sparking young students’ interests in this field has never been more relevant, as machine shops across the country are experiencing hardships in finding skilled workers. Students need to see that there are exciting opportunities available to them in this career that pay well, have room for advancement and don’t require going into debt for years in order to learn the necessary skills. The Smartforce Student Summit is playing an important role in educating students about these great opportunities.