Edge Factor provides resources to help bridge gap between industry, future workers
BY KARISSA MILLER
Many adults recall watching the dramatic Chile Mine Rescue unfold on television in 2010.
Thirty-three miners in search of copper and gold became trapped underground following an explosion. Weeks later, a global TV audience watched as lights shone on a newly drilled escape tunnel, where a capsule could be slowly lowered and raised out of the ground.
Those were a few of the scenes that Edge Factor President Jeremy Bout described and showed in his film the Chilean Mine Rescue to around 45 attendees, representing around 25 local businesses at the Unity Center.
Bout decided to make a documentary a few weeks after the event after seeing how it resonated with people. He put a manufacturing hook on the story, explaining that the real hero of the story was manufacturer Center Rock Inc., which made the drill bit.
The documentary is one of the films available to Iredell County Schools students on the Edge Factor platform, said vice president Larissa Hofman.
“All of your schools are accessing this type of content. But we say the story is just the beginning,” Hofman explained. “There’s all sorts of science, technology, engineering, art and math and, of course, career pathways that come alive in a story like this.”
“The story is really the catalyst for opening the door for more in depth teaching moments,” she added.
The 60-minute presentation by Bout and Hofman on Wednesday showcased the Edge Factor’s interactive technology that industries can purchase to help change the perception and highlight their company’s real manufacturing stories.
In Iredell County, Edge Factor will be rolled out this fall and will remain in place for the next three years for Iredell-Statesville Schools and Mooresville Graded Schools middle and high school students.
Every parent, student and community member will have access to an online platform through Edge Factor. Access to the platform is paid for by the Iredell County Board of Commissioners. Niagra Bottling was the main sponsor of Wednesday’s event.
Board of Commissioners Chairman James Mallory said the platform ensures that all Iredell County students have an opportunity to learn about career pathways in the community. The platform also connects educators with industry partners.
Mallory said that many parents have bought into the misperception that every student needs to attend a four-year institution to be successful.
“That is where Edge Factor is useful and will take us to the next level. It will connect the dots for both parents and students to our businesses,” Mallory said.
The program is the product of a joint effort by Iredell County commissioners, the Iredell County Economic Development Corporation, Iredell-Statesville Schools, Mooresville Graded Schools, Mitchell Community College, the Greater Statesville Chamber of Commerce and other partners who are working together to create a blueprint plan for workforce development.