University Economic Development Association


Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation Academy

Award Category: Talent + Place
Project Site: Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation Academy
Submitted By: East Carolina University
Contact: J. Ted Morris, PhD , 252.737.1341


The loss of young people from eastern North Carolina’s (eNC) rural counties is widespread, accelerating, and often reaching crisis proportions. For the many that want to stay, quality jobs, a creative culture, entrepreneurial opportunities and an education system to help them reach their employment goals are needed. Simultaneously, eNC is the fourth largest manufacturing state in the country where advanced manufacturers rely heavily on and face a shortage of skilled workers. To stem the loss of creative talent from the region, parents and students must be shown clear pathways connecting their education choices, behaviors and commitments to manufacturing employment and entrepreneurial opportunities. Specifically, parents, students, and teachers must be oriented to the realities and career opportunities found in eNC’s advanced manufacturing sectors including aerospace and aviation, defense, boat building, pharmaceuticals and bioprocessing, logistics, and health care innovations. The AMIA and associated Master eSTEAM Instructor program is a next-generation research, education and workforce development collaboration among middle school parents, students  and teachers, East Carolina University, Pitt Community College, STEM East, and three county school systems addressing the shortage of technically-skilled STEAM workers and entrepreneurs in the workforce Regardless of educational attainment, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art/Design, and Mathematics) graduates with the skills, knowledge and abilities to create, design and execute innovative solutions to real-world problems will be in great demand by advanced manufacturing employers and the supporting entrepreneurial ecosystem. In the long run, retaining these talented, skilled graduates, workers and entrepreneurs will drive cultural and economic transformation in eastern North Carolina.