Refueling Manufacturing Through Storytelling

New media company Edge Factor is partnering with Purdue University and industry leaders to produce educational materials based on episodes of its shows.

Edge Factor, Purdue press conference

Edge Factor’s Jeremy Bout (lower right) speaks to students about the eduFactor project during Purdue’s MSTEM3 500 event, held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Speaking at a press conference at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last week, "The Edge Factor Show" host and producer Jeremy Bout reiterated the buzz about job availability that permeates the manufacturing industry. But talk isn’t enough. For students hearing about these fabled jobs, Jeremy says, “The question is: How do they get there?”

A new partnership between Edge Factor and Purdue University seeks to answer that question for middle and high school students across North America. With the support of industry partners, including leading benefactor Mastercam, the Edge Factor and Purdue are creating a series of interconnected multimedia materials to educate students about manufacturing. The eduFactor resources will soon be available to schools, thanks to the MSTEM3 Grant Initiative funded by Mastercam and others.

In Stage 1 of the project, announced at the press conference, Purdue is developing educational materials for each of the existing episodes of "The Edge Factor Show" and new series "LaunchPoint." In Stage 2, Edge Factor will produce more media to align with the overall curriculum created by Purdue. Each episode will serve as the centerpiece for a particular lesson, whether it’s as immediate as “Why do we need to learn fractions?” or as broad as “What is manufacturing?”

The goal is both to inform and excite students about manufacturing careers. Curricula developed by Purdue are intended to educate students on what manufacturing is and how it works, while building a positive image of manufacturing careers. Edge Factor’s distinctive show episodes provide context to help the message hit home.

“Edge Factor is the best storyteller for this message,” says Danny White, manager of Purdue Motorsports and MSTEM3 at Purdue University. That’s because each episode of "The Edge Factor Show" and "LaunchPoint" features real people and situations that bring STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) concepts to life.

“The message of these videos is hope. It’s excitement. It’s advanced manufacturing. It’s real life!” says Jeremy. Bringing that link to the “real world” into the classroom may be the key to matching more students with manufacturing careers.