RAPID + TCT 2019: Next-gen technology and talent merge May 30, 2019 by Sandy Wilton, Manager, Student Engagement The SME Education Foundation Student Summit Event Series continued with RAPID + TCT May 20-23 at the Cobo Center in Detroit, Michigan. Six high schools from the metro Detroit area brought 174 enthusiastic young minds to the event where the entire additive manufacturing community convenes and where industry-accelerating products are launched. Student Summits deliver programming designed to inspire inquisitive minds while testing their knowledge and skills during hands-on challenges and competitions. “A critical need exists for a skilled workforce in Michigan. Advancing technology is requiring an ever-increasing skillset, and Michigan companies are struggling to attract a diverse workforce with the skill sets necessary to compete in the global economy,” said John Dignan, Director of Post-Secondary Options & Community Partnerships, Southfield Public Schools. “This challenge is compounded for industries and educators across Michigan, as rural, urban, and suburban employers struggle to attract skilled workers and find ways to prepare students for the challenges of advanced technology.” The RAPID + TCT Student Summit included a Mars Rover Challenge and Competition and an expansive, guided show floor tour where students saw the newest 3D technologies from additive manufacturing exhibitors, including 3D printing, 3D scanning, CAD/CAE, metrology & inspection, and related technologies. Rippl3d’s Mars Rover Challenge explores the relationship between wheel size and gear optimization to complete simulated missions over course terrains and in a designated travel time. Students form teams and work together to learn about gears, wheels, friction, traction, speed, velocity, forces and apply skills from the classroom, like geometry, as they compete against other high school students. After successfully navigating their Rovers over Mars terrain and delivering sensitive cargo, each student team explored the RAPID + TCT show floor in a scavenger hunt to find four exhibitors during an Instagram-based photo challenge. “This event exposed our students to a reality that they have to see with their own eyes. This exposure gives our students the chance to see where the future jobs will be in advanced manufacturing and what they need to do to make themselves attractive candidates,” said John Dignan.