Featured Image

Smartforce Student Summit at IMTS 2024 Enables Students To See Themselves in a STEM Career

For a view of the STEM classroom of the future  and to learn about careers available today,  educators, school administrators, students, and parents can visit the Smartforce Student Summit at IMTS 2024, which runs Sept. 9-14 at Chicago’s McCormick Place.
Mar 21, 2024


McLean, Va. (March 21, 2024) — For a view of the STEM classroom of the future – and to learn about careers available today – educators, school administrators, students, and parents can visit the Smartforce Student Summit at IMTS – The International Manufacturing Technology Show, which runs Sept. 9-14 at Chicago’s McCormick Place. Registration is now open for the Smartforce Student Summit and includes access to the IMTS show floor, where more than 1,600 exhibitors will represent the breadth of manufacturing technologies.

The Smartforce Student Summit exhibits emphasize interaction, heavily focus on digital manufacturing technologies, and appeal to students ages K-16. Nearly 70 exhibitors have created education-oriented booths and interactive events for students, which will be held on Level 2 of the East Building of McCormick Place.

“We have always focused on the manufacturing technology classroom of the future,” says Greg Jones, director of strategic programs and partnerships, SME. “This year, we designed the experience to provide students with a sense of belonging in our industry, providing them with engaging, hands-on exhibits that will encourage them to seek an education in STEM and career pathways in our industry.

“The Smartforce Student Summit will help students to understand what an education in design, mechatronics, or machining means and how it opens the door to careers as technicians, engineers, entrepreneurs, and more.”

New in 2024, the Smartforce Student Summit is now co-produced by AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology, which owns and produces IMTS, and SME, the largest workforce development organization in the manufacturing industry.

"You don’t know what you don’t know about the opportunity that a career in the manufacturing industry can present to you if you don’t experience it yourself,” says Carmen Mahon, Citywide STEM Initiatives manager for Chicago Public Schools. “The best place to do that is right here in Chicago at the Smartforce Student Summit at IMTS 2024 at McCormick Place. Having had the opportunity to tour the Student Summit in 2022, we understand how important it is for students from our community in Chicago to attend IMTS and see themselves as belonging on a career pathway in this important industry.”

Approximately 12,000 students and educators from 46 states participated in the 2022 Smartforce Student Summit, and the 2018 edition saw a record attendance of nearly 24,000 visitors. Jones anticipates about 20,000 at this year’s event, drawing the most students from Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio. About 70% of the audience comes from secondary education institutions, and 30% is post-secondary.

“The future of manufacturing depends on a strong workforce, and AMT and IMTS have a long history of engaging with K-12 schools, colleges, and community organizations, so we can expose students to STEM-oriented careers,” says Catherine Ross, director – community engagement, AMT. “We do a lot of work behind the scenes, such as with helping educators plan a successful visit to IMTS. For example, busing often appears as a challenge, and some public schools do not realize that they can use Perkins V funding for transportation costs associated with excursions and extended learning opportunities tied directly to career-technical education coursework, and that includes IMTS.”

“The Summit is a unique opportunity for students and educators to collaborate not only with educational representatives from the manufacturing industry but also with the actual industry itself,” says Lindsay Cline, vice president, education business development, Phillips Corp., a global supplier of manufacturing technology and an exhibitor at the Summit. “It is an incredible tool for recruitment, as our students are shoulder to shoulder with industry leaders from across the United States and beyond, interacting and learning together in a collaborative environment.”

Smartforce Student Summit Exhibit partners, like Phillips, participate in IMTS’ Smartforce Career Connections, a digital career fair that connects them with well-paying, open jobs with high-profile companies in the manufacturing technology, aerospace, and space exploration industries.

Additional STEM Support

IMTS visitors who want to support STEM programs can participate in the Miles 4 Manufacturing (M4M) 5K run/walk along the shores of Lake Michigan. Held on the Wednesday morning of IMTS week, M4M has raised nearly $200,000 since 2014. Because the IMTS trade show pays all hard costs of producing the event, 100% of the money raised from sponsorship and registration fees gets distributed to schools and STEM programs throughout the country to support advanced manufacturing education.

Social Media

Conversations within the IMTS community are continuing on social media:

Media Notes

About IMTS – The International Manufacturing Technology Show

IMTS – The International Manufacturing Technology Show is where the creators, builders, sellers, and drivers of manufacturing technology come to connect and be inspired. Attendees discover advanced manufacturing solutions that include innovations in CNC machining, automation, robotics, additive, software, inspection, and transformative digital technologies that drive our future forward. Powered by AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology, IMTS is the largest manufacturing technology show and marketplace in the Western Hemisphere. With more than 1.2 million square feet of exhibit space, the show attracts visitors from more than 110 countries. IMTS 2022 had 86,307 registrants, featured 1,816 exhibiting companies, saw over 7,600 people attend educational events, and included a Student Summit that introduced the next generation to manufacturing. Be the change at IMTS 2024, Sept. 9-14, 2024. Inspiring the Extraordinary. IMTS.com

About AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology

AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology represents U.S.-based providers of manufacturing technology – the advanced machinery, devices, and digital equipment that U.S. manufacturing relies on to be productive, innovative, and competitive. Located in McLean, Virginia, near the nation’s capital, AMT acts as the industry’s voice to speed the pace of innovation, increase global competitiveness, and develop manufacturing’s advanced workforce of tomorrow. With extensive expertise in industry data and intelligence, as well as a full complement of international business operations, AMT offers its members an unparalleled level of support. AMT also produces IMTS – The International Manufacturing Technology Show, the premier manufacturing technology event in North America. AMTonline.org

About SME

Established in 1932 as a nonprofit organization, SME represents the entire North American manufacturing industry, including manufacturers, academia, professionals, students, and the communities in which they operate. Together we share one common belief: Manufacturing holds the key to economic growth and prosperity. SME accelerates new technology adoption and inspires and builds North America’s talent and capabilities in order to advance manufacturing as a diverse, thriving and valued ecosystem that drives competitiveness, resiliency and national security. We believe in technology's power and humanity's innovation to advance our society and meet many national challenges. We design new ways to understand and solve problems, and our solutions advance the next wave of innovation and growth. Learn more at SME.org, or follow SME on X/Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.

Catherine “Cat” Ross
Director of Community Engagement
Recent smartforce News
As today’s youth shows an increasing interest in skilled trade and technical careers, the Smartforce Student Summit at IMTS 2024 is an immersive experience designed to inspire students to seek a career pathway in manufacturing.
As someone who has spent 47 years working in manufacturing technology, I experienced firsthand, as you likely have, our industry’s impact on the prosperity of individuals and our local communities. I’m grateful AMT and IMTS...
It’s play time! FIRST Robotics teams from Milwaukee-area high schools teamed up to adapt toys for kids with disabilities. Using the technical skills developed in FIRST Robotics, the teens are making play time accessible for all.
To help celebrate National Apprenticeship Week, AMT and IMTS are shining the spotlight on three equipment manufacturers training the workforce of the future through their apprenticeship programs: Okuma, Schunk, and United Grinding.
In addition to building competition robots, students on the FIRST Penn Robotics team are also dedicated to crafting adaptive technology to help children with disabilities like this Hulk costume for a boy with a wheelchair.
Similar News
By Bonnie Gurney | Jul 17, 2024

The Software Sector at IMTS 2024, which runs Sept. 9-14, showcases solutions from more than 120 exhibitors demonstrating CAD-CAM software, controls, ERP, monitoring, data management, and other digital solutions to optimize machine and business performance.

8 min
By Bonnie Gurney | Feb 08, 2024

At IMTS 2024, discover unexpected solutions, including haptic feedback to improve remote robot operation and digital training, quality control software, additive manufacturing powders and gases, services to address labor issues via an app, and more.

5 min
By Bonnie Gurney | Mar 06, 2024

IMTS has announced the opening of registration for more than 10 conferences at IMTS 2024, an enhanced conference format, and new IMTS Elevate programs for IMTS 2024. IMTS also announced that visitor housing registration is now open.

5 min