Developed by NextFlex, America’s Flexible Hybrid Electronics (FHE) Manufacturing Institute, in collaboration with a community of industrial partners, academic alliances, and support from local, state, and federal governments, FlexFactor is built on the principles of public-private partnerships. FlexFactor immerses high school students into the world of advanced manufacturing technology and is easily integrated into an existing classroom structure. Lorain County Community College is excited to be the first national partner to expand FlexFactor!
The anchor for FlexFactor is Lorain County Community College – two Program Managers will bring together local high schools, college faculty and administrators, and business and industry partners. The Program Managers will provide programmatic and logistical support to all of the programs participants and will work hand-in-hand with the secondary instructors to successfully implement the program in their classroom.
“NextFlex is proud to have LCCC as the first national partner in the expansion of FlexFactor. LCCC is a model for innovative educational approaches that meet the needs of both students and industry and we are excited to work with leaders in this arena. FlexFactor’s ability to expose students to the educational opportunities provided by programs like the Applied Bachelor’s degree in MEMS will help increase the number of students aware of and pursuing STEM-related pathways. This industry-facing approach to education ensures students have access to the skill bridges that will take them from high school to employment, and that our educational institutions are able to meet the talent needs of industry.” -Emily McGrath, Deputy Director of Workforce Development at NextFlex.
The FlexFactor Value Added
Through the process, FlexFactor students are immersed in advanced technology and entrepreneurship through project-based learning. Set over five-weeks in the students high school classroom, small teams of students identify a human health or performance-related problem, conceptualize a flexible hybrid electronic device to solve it, and package their concept into a viable business model. Students will conduct two field trips: one to a local manufacturing company and one to Lorain County Community College. On both field trips students will receive guidance on their project from business & educator mentors; receive classroom lectures on entrepreneurship and business model development; and complete an application to college, reducing a barrier to college attainment. After a month of engaged research and product design, students will pitch their product and business model to a group of industry professionals “shark tank” style. Through teamwork and intentional interactions with business mentors, students will develop professional skills including teamwork, communication, critical thinking, and reasoning skills. Participation in the FlexFactor program will create a competitive talent pool of young scholars who are prepared to tackle society-wide technology challenges.
FlexFactor Sprint is a condensed version of the FlexFactor program and is best used with middle school students. FlexFactor Sprint can be ran as a one-day experience or as a week-long version. The program can be hosted at a local manufacturer or LCCC and students will remain immersed in technology, entrepreneurship, and education and career pathways in advanced manufacturing. Results are achieved in a compressed time frame by leveraging a project based learning approach. Students will spend the first part of the day touring a manufacturer or learning about advanced manufacturing pathways at LCCC. Students will work in teams, alongside mentors, to identify a human health or performance-related problem, conceptualize a flexible hybrid electronic device to solve it, and use the basic tenets of a business model to identify their target market, users, buyers, and revenue models. At the conclusion of the day, teams will pitch their product “shark tank” style to a panel of education and industry representatives.
What Lorain County is Saying About FlexFactor
“FlexFactor has challenged me to learn in a different way by letting me think outside of the box. I am able to think of an idea or solution I would’ve never thought of before. I love that out of many other people that could have had the chance to do this program, I was one of them because I appreciate and see how the program relates to our lives and how helpful it is in my education and knowledge along with many other great opportunities in my life”. Jasmin Morales, Student
“FlexFactor is different from other classes because it is student led and instead of teacher led and it allows more freedom; FlexFactor forced me to think unconventionally”. Jabari Fuentes, Student
“I like FlexFactor because it allowed me to learn how a company works and what steps are needed to have a successful business. This program is different because it is allowing me to become more mature and has challenged me in the way of how to solve a problem and how to make it a lasting solution”. Jeremiah Simpson, Student
- “We love seeing how this program encourages young people to consider how new technology can solve important social and health challenges. We’re excited for what lies ahead as we partner with additional schools and employers locally to bring FlexFactor to more students, helping them see the opportunity for their own career in our region’s growing innovation economy”. Marcia J. Ballinger, Ph.D., LCCC President
- “FlexFactor has provided an exceptional learning experience, affording students opportunities that meet wide-ranging educational standards for academic, career, and personal/social development. Students learn the value of teamwork, employ their creativity, and hone their research and presentation skills as they develop solutions to real world problems, connecting the classroom to the broader community”. Jamie Bush, ECHS Success Lab Instructor
“One of the biggest challenges for young employees is understanding how different groups interact (engineering, marketing, sales, finance, etc.). FlexFactor is teaching students at an early age how each of these departments need to work together to achieve success”. Tim Good, Director of Medical Device Quality, Blue Spark Technologies
LCCC Iterations of FlexFactor
Fall 2018: Early College High School, 9th grade Success Seminar Class
Spring 2018: Early College High School, 9th grade Success Seminar Class
LCCC FlexFactor In the News
- Industry Week December 2018 – From Dirty and Dark to Gleaming, Futuristic, and Intellectually Challenging
- PCB007 Magazine, November 2018 – FlexFactor: Imagination and Innovation
- Los Angeles Business News – Fresh From Silicon Valley: Advanced Manufacturing Career Program Takes Off In Ohio
About NextFlex and Flexible Hybrid Electronics
NextFlex is one of nine Manufacturing USA institutes that was developed to revitalize US manufacturing. NextFlex’s mission is to drive acceleration and adoption of FHE, combining the ability to add electronics to new and unique materials that are part of our everyday lives with the power of silicon integrated circuits. The result is lightweight, low-cost, flexible, conformable and stretchable smart products to solve new problems and advance the efficiency of our world. Flexible Hybrid Electronics will usher in a new era of “electronics on everything.” Intelligence will be taken out of the “boxes” or packages associated with traditional electronics like PCs, smartphones and tablets, and transplanted directly onto a variety of surfaces including the human body, enabling an entirely new breed of defense and commercial applications we haven’t imagined. More information about NextFlex can be found at http://www.nextflex.us