Students Vie for $100,000 Prize at Integrated Manufacturing National Championship

The $100,000 first-place prize in the Project MFG™ 2022 Integrated Manufacturing National Championship, a competition for students in career and technical training programs, will be awarded at the four-team final round in May.

AWS Publications | March 10, 2022 | Tech and Industries
Welding Digest ►  Students Vie for $100,000 Prize at Integrated Manufacturing National Championship

The $100,000 first-place prize in the Project MFG™ 2022 Integrated Manufacturing National Championship, a competition for students in career and technical training programs, will be awarded at the four-team final round in May.

Founded in 2019, Project MFG is a program of The Global Learning Accelerator nonprofit and is funded by the U.S. Department of Defense’s Industrial Base Analysis and Sustainment program.

This year’s competition attracted a record 32 teams from community colleges, high schools, and technical trades programs.

“The competition is designed to reflect a modern manufacturing environment,” said Project MFG Founder Ray Dick, who conceived of Project MFG as a Top Chef-style competition for manufacturing. “The Integrated Manufacturing competition involves welding, machining, critical thinking, and many other skills.”

Photo 1-1Project MFG’s 2022 Integrated Manufacturing National Championship will award a $100,000 first-place grand prize.

 

The first-place prize will be evenly split among the winning team’s members and school. The second-place prize is $12,000 for the team members and $8000 to the school. The third-place prize is $6000 for the team members and $4000 for the school. In addition, all 16 teams that qualify for the semifinals will receive $2000 each.

The competition consists of three rounds — qualifying, semifinals, and finals — with each building upon the previous round’s project and increasing in difficulty. The final four teams must operate a five-axis CNC machine. The teams use identical materials and operate under the same cost and time constraints. They are rewarded for using fewer labor hours and judged by a panel of experts. This year’s teams are building a trophy with multiple components.

Although the competition was originally designed as a live, head-to-head competition, last year, the COVID-19 pandemic forced each team to compete at separate locations.

This year, Dick said, “We hope to have the semifinal and final rounds with multiple teams competing at single sites to drive more-intense competition and pressure as the teams will be able to see the other teams’ performances and will be outside the comfort of their home facility.”

There are no entries fees, and travel costs for competing in the semifinals and finals are covered by Project MFG and its sponsors, as are all raw materials and most tools. The schools simply have to possess basic machines. Project MFG supplies the rest, including machinery that many of the competitors have never used.

“I liken this to a person getting their driver’s license and then we give them the keys to a Corvette,” Dick said. “Their eyes light up. They get excited. Being able to give the competitors this opportunity has been very exciting.”

For more information, visit www.projectmfg.com.

 

This article was written by Dave Rosenbaum (Welding Journal contributor) for the American Welding Society.