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Changing the Face of Advanced Manufacturing One Student at a Time

by Courtney Power, Deputy Director of Workforce Development, NextFlex

How would the face of advanced manufacturing be transformed if there were four new job candidates every single day? FlexFactor®, NextFlex’s flagship learning program, recently surpassed an important milestone – 10,000 total students reached. Since starting in 2016 with only 8 students in San Jose, CA, we have now grown to reaching an average of over 4 students per day for the last six years!

Why does this matter to Industry 4.0? 81% of students share that they are more aware of the career opportunities available to them in STEM and advanced manufacturing after participating in FlexFactor. 82% of students are more aware of the educational resources and pathways available to help make their dreams a reality.

When asked what they gained from participating in FlexFactor, students shared responses that put into words the goals and objectives of the program – raising awareness of flexible hybrid electronics, building interest in careers in STEM and advanced manufacturing, developing 21st century skills, and building a locally based ecosystem that connects industry to education in an authentic way.

“It was a hands-on activity, that really brought me and my teammates together.” – Dent Middle School Student (South Carolina)

“We are able to come together and help create solutions to real world problems.” – Golden Triangle Early College High School Student (Mississippi)

“What I found most valuable about the FlexFactor program was receiving constructive criticism from industry professionals about my team’s product. I also enjoyed learning the different applications FHE technology is being used for today.” – Independence High School Student (California)

“It showed me a whole new career path.” – Marion L. Steele HS Student (Ohio)

What’s next for FlexFactor? The program is currently undergoing an expansion that will bring the total number of ecosystems to 34 by the end of 2022. With these additional partnerships and building on the strong relationships in place with our existing partners, we expect to surpass 20,000 students by 2025.  While we celebrate this milestone, we must also share our gratitude with the Office of Naval Research Manufacturing Engineering Education Program, the Boeing Global Engagement Foundation, the Office of the Secretary of Defense Manufacturing Technology Program, and our many dedicated partners in workforce development. This impact would not be possible without your unwavering and continued support.

If you are interested in supporting the FlexFactor program in your area or learning more about how you can change the face of advanced manufacturing through this impactful program, contact us at