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US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos visits NextFlex

By Brynt Parmeter, Director of Workforce Development, Education and Training, NextFlex

NextFlex had the privilege of showcasing FlexFactor™ to both the U.S. Secretary of Education and the California Community College Chancellor during a tour and working lunch at NextFlex on Thursday, October 12th. During the two-hour program, Secretary DeVos and Chancellor Oakley, along with several Vice Chancellors of the California Community College system, gained a deeper understanding of flexible hybrid electronics (FHE), the Manufacturing USA network of innovation institutes, and our flagship workforce development program FlexFactor™.

FlexFactor™, NextFlex’s project-based learning program that integrates into existing classroom structures, launched in the Fall of 2016 with eight students completing the first iteration at Lincoln High School in San Jose, Calif., and now has signed on more than 1,800 students for the 2017-18 academic school year. FlexFactor™ combines skill-building in entrepreneurship, product development, and FHE technology, and challenges students to solve a real-world human health problem, and in teams students develop a business model for an FHE-enabled solution and subsequently pitch it to a panel of industry experts.

Over a working lunch, two recent FlexFactor™ alumni, both from Branham High School in San Jose, presented their product pitches and described their take-aways from participating in the program. Key partners from Jabil, Campbell and Union School Districts, Branham High School, and San Jose City College all discussed the value of the program to their respective organizations. The meeting concluded with an open discussion on the next steps to include Women in STEM and other underserved demographic segments. Both the Secretary and the state Chancellor were very engaged and open to follow up meetings to discuss next steps in helping to expand the program within the California Community College system and nationally.

Secretary DeVos enjoys a story told by Dan Gamota, Vice President of Strategic Capabilities for Jabil about his education and career pathway choices that led him to the advanced manufacturing sector.


Paul Semenza, NextFlex Director of Commercialization (right) provides a guided tour of the NexFlex Technology Hub for Secretary DeVos, followed by Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley, CA Community College Chancellor’s Office (center back) and Brynt Parmeter, NextFlex Director of Workforce Development, Education and Training (far left).


Secretary DeVos (at center), flanked by NextFlex staff, members of the California Community College Chancellor’s Office (CCCCO), local high school district administrators and students, representatives from San Jose – Evergreen Community College and Dan Gamota of Jabil.