About the Program

Has your school district been on the hunt for a way to give students a more hands-on real-world experiences to make learning more memorable and exciting? 

The Manufacturing Innovation Challenge (MIC) can provide such an experience!

This STEM program gets students out of the classroom and into the work environment by allowing a group of students to go into a local manufacturing company as “outside consultants” and tackle a REAL problem they are facing. Once the students have reached a solution to the company’s problem, they present their findings as a professional group to the company.

  • Easily integrated into your district’s current curriculum while supporting and enhancing classroom learning.
  • Supports development of critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, and other skills that are extremely valued in the workplace.
  • Offers flexibility to align to your educational environment and schedule. There are two visits to the local company, but the majority of the time working on the project is done with students working in the classroom.
  • Funding support is available for substitute teachers and transportation costs.

Check out our featured program video


Student Benefits

Practical Skill Development

Working with a local company allows students to gain practical, real-world skills that can enhance their employability and college readiness.

Career Exploration

This opportunity provides students with firsthand experience in various industries allowing them to make informed decisions about their future careers.

Networking Opportunities

Students build connections and establish relationships with professionals in their fields of interest.

Enhanced Learning

This practical experience can complement classroom learning and provide a deeper understanding of academic concepts.

Boosted Confidence and Motivation

Working with real professionals at real companies can boots students’ confidence, motivation, and overall engagement in their education.

Student Success

Many students who have participated in this program have:

  • Continued on to our pre-apprenticeship program and received industry recognized credentials
  • Secured paid internships at local companies
  • Gained scholarships for continued education
  • Received full time job offers at local companies

Project Examples

Company: Ace Wire Spring and Form

School: Hampton High School Project

Project Summary: Students were asked to research whether or not the company should enter into the production and sale of titanium springs.

Project Outcomes: The students researched the uses of titanium springs in the market place, the growth potential of those markets, other manufacturers that made such springs, the geo-graphic location of those competitors, and the manufacturing capabilities at Ace Wire Spring. The team recommended that the company should enter that market and the company now does so.

Company: All-Clad Metalcrafters

School: South Fayette High School

Project Summary: Over the years, students have worked on a wide variety of manufac-turing projects ranging from new product development, process improvements, fire mitigation, quality improvement, product re-furbishment, and marketing.

Project Outcomes: The program started with a team of 10 students over 10 years ago and has grown to over 30 students a year involved in projects in a stand alone project-based elective class. South Fayette now partners with other school districts on projects. The company has implemented numerous of the ideas from the student teams.

Company: EPD Electronics

School: Burrell High School

Project Summary: Students were asked to re-purpose a 3D printer and small robot that were not being utilized by the company.

Project Outcomes: The students researched the use of the equipment, how to get it to be functional, and the potential uses of the tech-nology in the company’s manufacturing environ-ment. Burrell and EPD have done multiple past projects together and have built a strong work-ing relationship.

Company: Rivers of Steel

School: City Charter High School Project

Summary: Students were asked to research potential ideas for new products that could be sold in the gift shops of the Bost Building museum or Carrie Furnace historical site.

Project Outcomes: The team of students surveyed their peers about the types of things they would purchase at a museum gift shop, designed products using CAD software, and analyzed cost to produce and price to sell the products.

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