MCLEAN, VA — Miles for Manufacturing (M4M), a series of 5K races aimed at raising funds and awareness for STEM education and manufacturing careers, donated four MakerGear 3D printers and $8,000 to Chicago-area STEM schools and programs with the proceeds from its 5K held during IMTS 2016. IMTS is owned and managed by The Association For Manufacturing Technology.

IMTS and GIE Media sponsor the M4M 5K race series where 100 percent of the runner registration fees go towards school programs that prepare students for careers in manufacturing. More than 300 IMTS registrants participated to raise funds for the Chicago STEM programs.

The four MakerGear 3D printers went to the following STEM-focused Chicago public schools: George Leland Elementary School, Genevieve Melody Elementary STEM School, Langston Hughes Elementary School, and Daniel S. Wentworth Elementary School—all of which attended the Smartforce Student Summit at IMTS 2016.

“3D printing in our classroom has elevated the significance of using the engineering design process and applying the five STEM habits at Melody Elementary,” said Chicago Public School teacher James Harris. “The fascination of bringing an idea into existence makes learning more fun and meaningful for students. It also gives teachers and students the opportunity to strengthen critical thinking skills and learn about physical computing and fabrication as well as STEM-related careers. 3D printing in our school has captivated the attention of all learners and transformed the way that most students think when it comes to expanding on ideas.”

M4M gave $3,000 to the Chicago Public Library Foundation for YouMedia, a 21st century teen learning space filled with digital media technology, and $5,000 to Project SYNCERE, a Chicago-based community organization that uses project-based learning to prepare underserved and underrepresented students for STEM careers.

“Along with our partner GIE Media, we are very proud to support institutions such as Chicago Public Schools. It is especially rewarding to hear about how the students are using the 3D printers and see how the teachers are preparing the next generation of manufacturing technology workers," said Peter Eelman, vice president of exhibitions and business development at The Association For Manufacturing Technology.

"When we tossed around the idea of starting a 5K, we thought that we’d have a few dozen people run. I never imagined we would have more than 300 people register. We are thrilled to not only bring together the industry, but also to be able to make a contribution to the programs that are the future of the manufacturing industry," said Mike DiFranco, GIE Media Group publisher.

Why are manufacturers supporting STEM programs?

Manufactures understand the value of their industry to a healthy economy.

“The U.S. manufacturing’s value chain accounts for about 1/3 of GDP and employment in the U.S. For each full-time manufacturing job created, 3/4 full-time jobs are created in nonmanufacturing industries. For every $1 of domestic manufacturing value-added, another $3.60 of value-added is generated elsewhere,” says Douglas K. Woods, president of the Association For Manufacturing Technology, which owns and operates IMTS, North America’s largest advanced technology trade show.

It is estimated that two million manufacturing jobs will go unfilled if more young people don’t seek an education in STEM and a career in manufacturing, according to the Boston Consulting Group and Deloitte for The Manufacturing Institute.

Manufacturing has become a U.S. national strategy through the Department of Commerce’s Manufacturing USA initiative, a network of public-private institutes dedicated to securing the nation’s future through manufacturing innovation, education, and collaboration. The Deloitte 2016 Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index estimates that U.S. manufacturing stands to overtake China by the year 2020 as the world’s most competitive manufacturing nation based on the quality and availability of high-skilled workers, which dictates a country’s ability to be globally competitive in advanced manufacturing.

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