Case Studies

The Future Textile Workforce: Advanced Functional Fabrics Curriculum and Training Development

March 11, 2021

In the United States, there is an immediate need to educate and train both the current and the next generation of textile workers to meet industry’s needs. The education requirements include everything from skilled labor (some high school up to some college) through advanced technical degrees. Career and technical education programs need to be re-aligned with industry in order to prepare the workforce of the futureTo help address this problem, AFFOA has built a partnership with the Greater Lawrence Technical School (GLTS) and MIT – Edgerton Center to develop a technical high school curriculum in Advanced Functional Fabrics; this curriculum will be piloted in the STEAM program at GLTS over the next few years.

GLTS AFF Curriculum Highlights Include:

  • 6 units and 80+ lessons around advanced functional fibers and fabrics
  • Introduction to product and market applications and design of fiber, textile and products.
  • Project-based coursework that enables students to design and prototype new product and market applications.
  • Enhances the capacity of students to go from an idea phase, to prototyping and communicating ideas in production improvement, to physical production and testing of the product.

Advanced Functional Fabric Training/LAB Space

Leveraging capital expenditure funding from the State of MA, the team was able to secure equipment for Advanced Functional Fabrics lab space at GLTS. The AFF lab space at GLTS includes a mini draw tower, lathes, milling machines, a Shima Seiki knitting machine, and general space for student “making” and prototyping.  In addition to being a vocational high school, GLTS serves as a training provider for the broader Merrimack Valley community, which includes the incumbent, veteran and unemployed workforces. Embedding the AFF Lab Space at GLTS, increases regional capacity to train individuals in Advanced Manufacturing and AFF.

Looking Forward:

AFFOA will begin the process packaging a pilot program to expand the reach of the AFF curricula to other interested parties, including and not limited to: technical high schools, general education K-12, community colleges, and Fabric Discovery Centers needing training and development for their staff.