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UT hosts bootcamp event to train workers on machine tooling, meant to improve U.S. industry

The program is called "America's Cutting Edge" and includes virtual and in-person training for workers to advance their machine tooling careers.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The University of Tennessee hosted an event Wednesday meant to help workers learn the skills they need to jumpstart careers in machine tooling. Organizers said the program is meant to help boost the U.S. machine tooling industry, making it more competitive in international markets.

It's called America's Cutting Edge and is funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, in partnership with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Knoxville's Composites Institute. The BootCamp started at 10:45 a.m. and provided participants with hands-on training with advanced machine tools.

Participants and future trainers traveled from as far away as Chicago and New Mexico. Organizers said they expected the event to help boost Knoxville's prominence in the U.S. manufacturing industry.

ACE training is available nationwide and starts off with free online training. Participants who complete it can qualify for hands-on training during bootcamp events like the one at UT. Organizers of the program said no prior training or experience is required.

A 6-hour course teaches participants through a program similar to a flight similar, directly showing them how to operate advanced equipment. there is also an optional 30-hour in-person course where participants machine five parts of an air piston.

While the program focuses on machining metal parts, officials also said it is branching out into composite materials. The training also comes at no cost to participants.

Currently, all in-person training is conducted at UT and Pellissippi State Community College. Officials said additional training centers in Greensboro are expected to open soon.

Participants who complete the online training will get a certificate of completion on 0.6 continuing education units from Pellissippi.

Anyone who attended the in-person training on Wednesday also had a chance to speak with Chancellor Donde Plowman and other leaders who attended it.

Anyone interested in the training program can sign up for it online.

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