Sierra College Hosts US Dept. of Defense Project MFG™ Challenge

December 19, 2019 (ROCKLIN, CA) -- The Sierra College Gene Haas Center for Advanced Manufacturing by Design hosted the Project MFG™: Next Generation Manufacturing™ Challenge from the United States Department of Defense ( on December 3-5, 2019.


To address the need to build a skilled engineering and shop floor manufacturing U.S. workforce to compete in global markets, Project MFG™ holds competitions throughout the country. The competition ignites students’ interest in Advanced Manufacturing careers and prepares them for manufacturing jobs that require people to work collaboratively across the manufacturing floor.


Kennedy High School, located in Sacramento CA, won the competition to produce complex part made of aluminum; Rocklin High School and Yuba College teams also competed in the challenge. The Kennedy team will represent the Sacramento region at the next level with a chance to compete nationally at the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) in Chicago, September 2020.


“It’s exciting to witness America's Next Great Generation compete under pressure against world class standards,” said Adele Ratcliff, Director, Industrial Base Analysis and Sustainment Program, Office of Industrial Policy, within the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Industrial Policy, ( ). “It brings out the best in them and instills confidence in their ability to perform at the highest industrial base standards when it counts for a company. Project MFG™ not only pushes their skills, but pushes their thinking and approach to be more advanced in a teamed approach.”


“To increase awareness of meaningful careers in manufacturing, Sierra College was pleased to welcome the national Project MFG™ to our Rocklin campus,” said Amy Schulz, Ph.D., Dean of Career, Continuing and Technical Education, Sierra College. “With the support of the Haas Education Foundation, Sierra College has built an Advanced Manufacturing lab with industry standard CNC tools as a regional resource.”


“Working in the Sierra College Advanced Manufacturing lab took my students out of their comfort zone and challenged their teamwork and technical skills,” said Dan Frank, Advanced Manufacturing Instructor, Rocklin High School. “Ultimately, participating builds their confidence and makes careers in this industry more intriguing.”


Industry partners from Lincoln Electric®, Haas Automation Inc. and ZEISS as well as the team from the Department of Defense were on site during the competition to provide technical support for the students who had access to Sierra College’s Haas CNC and welding tools.


“At this friendly competition, I witnessed more collaboration between the teams than usual and was impressed by the students’ professionalism,” said Tom Tholen, Project MFG™. “These students are on the fast track to satisfying Advanced Manufacturing careers with starting salaries of $70,000+ where they can make an impact on the world.”


The Department of Defense’s Ratcliff encouraged students to pursue manufacturing careers where their skills can make a difference. “Our greatest challenges that require a product solution--from climate change to medicine to national security-- require manufacturing to bring that to reality,” said Ratcliff. 


“There is more than one way to serve your country—being in manufacturing provides economic prosperity for our country as well as the individual.  And a strong manufacturing economy underpins our national security. Individuals entering the manufacturing profession will have a career path that will continue to advance and challenge them professionally as well as providing an ability to live almost anywhere in the world with this profession.”   

For more information on the Next Generation Manufacturing™ Challenge Series, visit (


About Sierra College

The Sierra College District is rising to the needs of our community. Sierra College serves 3200 square miles of Northern CA with campuses in Roseville, Rocklin, Grass Valley, and Truckee. With approximately 125 degree and certificate programs, Sierra College is ranked first in Northern California (Sacramento north) for transfers to four year universities, offers career/technical training, and classes for upgrading job skills.  Sierra graduates can be found in businesses and industries throughout the region. More information at



8067 – Manufacturing teams from Kennedy High School, Rocklin High School and Yuba College participated in Project MFG™: Next Generation Manufacturing™ Challenge held at Sierra College.

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