Visit Complements NextFlex’s Mission to Support Education in the Field of Flexible Hybrid Electronics to Foster a New Generation of Researchers, Technicians and Engineering Talent
San Jose, Calif., September 16, 2016 – NextFlex, America’s first, and only, Flexible Hybrid Electronics (FHE) Manufacturing Innovation Institute, welcomed Dr. Jill Biden at its San Jose headquarters this past Wednesday as part of a nationwide effort to promote the importance of community colleges to America’s future. Dr. Biden was joined by City of San Jose Mayor, Sam Liccardo, and City of Oakland Mayor, Libby Schaaf,along with community college representatives and business leaders in Silicon Valley’s technology and manufacturing industries to discuss how employers can play a role in President Obama’s America’s College Promise initiative-which is to make the first two years of community college free for responsible students.
NextFlex was the ideal host for this prestigious panel given its strong commitment and ongoing efforts to foster education and workforce development in the area of flexible hybrid electronics (FHE) and advanced manufacturing. Commenting on the event, Dr. Malcolm Thompson, executive director for NextFlex, noted, “We are extremely honored to help support the White House and America’s College Promise. NextFlex is one of nine manufacturing Institutes developed in the past few years designed to revitalize US manufacturing, which, in our case, is focused specifically on FHE in order to transform and enhance the way we live, work and play.”
“To this end, we need to attract and foster the talent pool necessary for this highly technical field-working closely with our member companies and academia to promote the myriad opportunities this industry will afford to turn today’s high school and college students into the next generation of FHE researchers, technicians, engineers and professionals. By providing free education across the nation’s community colleges, students moving on from high school, people wishing to return to the workforce, or even those just wanting to augment their schooling or change their career path, can breathe a sigh of relief in knowing they can avoid incurring massive student debt, while still gaining the necessary knowledge and skills that will allow them to enter and succeed in the FHE field,” Thompson remarked.
NextFlex reports that it already has numerous initiatives at the community college level underway-with several hundred thousand dollars invested in projects both here in California and in Ohio. More information on these projects and others will be formally announced shortly to further demonstrate how NextFlex is creating a viable FHE educational ecosystem, in part by opening employment pathways and opportunities through a concerted focus on education.
Known for its start-up mentality and agile business model, NextFlex serves as a catalyst for collaboration and innovation among a collection of companies, academic and nonprofit institutions and government organizations from across the U.S., all focused on creating a robust FHE manufacturing infrastructure. Once in full production, FHE will usher in a new era of “electronics on everything.” Intelligence will be taken out of the “boxes” or packages associated with traditional electronics like PCs, smartphones and tablets, and transplanted directly on to a variety of surfaces including the human body, enabling an entirely new breed of defense and commercial applications we haven’t imagined. But to develop these enabling FHEs, new manufacturing solutions are required and they come with significant integration challenges. Working alone, it would take years, perhaps decades, and unprecedented amounts of capital for a company to create the infrastructure to support mass production of FHEs. NextFlex, along with its members, are working to rapidly uncover and solve the complex manufacturing issues associated with production of flexible hybrid electronics, and ultimately create a manufacturing infrastructure that can efficiently be spun out to private industry.
About Flexible Hybrid Electronics
FHE combines the ability to add electronics to new and unique materials that are part of our everyday lives along with the power of silicon ICs to create lightweight, low-cost, flexible, conformable and stretchable smart products to solve new problems and advance the efficiency of our world.
NextFlex was founded on August 28, 2015, through the execution of a Cooperative Agreement between the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and FlexTech Alliance. A public-private partnership, NextFlex is the seventh Manufacturing Innovation Institute funded through the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation to create, showcase, and deploy new capabilities and new manufacturing processes. More information about NextFlex can be found at www.nextflex.us, and be sure to follow us on Twitter @NextFlexUS.