This press release was issued on March 22, 2021. We're sharing because it highlights SPESA's commitment to collaboration and advancing workforce development efforts in the sewn products equipment industry.
Team RE: is a leading industry coalition composed of Shimmy Technologies, SPESA, Urban Manufacturing Alliance, and USC Games exciting American workers about manufacturing jobs
RALEIGH, N.C. – The Sewn Products Equipment & Suppliers of the Americas (SPESA) announced today that Team RE: Reskill, Rebuild, Remake is one of 10 teams from 4 countries advancing as qualified teams in the XPRIZE Rapid Reskilling competition. Competing teams are incentivized to develop and demonstrate the effectiveness of rapid training and reskilling solutions for individuals most vulnerable to employment loss in the United States. SPESA partnered with Shimmy Technologies, Urban Manufacturing Alliance, and USC Games to form Team RE: to build new video game-based training to excite more Americans to pursue careers as sewing operators and machine technicians. Team RE: was selected from 118 teams from 20 countries following an independent judging panel’s assessment of the teams’ choice of occupation, viability of proposed solution, and methods of worker engagement. “We joined Team RE: this past fall because we saw alignment with our mission to promote the interests of sewn products suppliers and support the U.S. sewn products industry,” said SPESA President Michael McDonald. “The current lack of skilled workers and limited workforce development resources, particularly in the technician, engineering, and mechanic positions, are among the largest obstacles for both our members and their customers interested in manufacturing in the United States.” Team RE: builds on Shimmy’s expertise in upskilling and reskilling Asian sewing operators with video games. XPRIZE will bring the focus geographically to the United States and the training will be administered through mobile experiences similar to consumer games. “Many people feel alienated by technical content and turn away from machine and classroom-based trainings never to return again. We lose a lot of talented people and industry potential this way. We need to think differently if we want to gain the workforce we say we do,” said Sarah Krasley, chief executive officer of Shimmy.
The solutions developed in this competition are designed to reduce training time by at least 50 percent. Team RE:, along with the other nine finalists, will be responsible for developing its technological solutions, creating platforms, developing training curricula, and preparing itself for the first phase of testing. SPESA members who are interested in exploring this format of machine and technology training are encouraged to reach out and explore more hands-on work with the team over the next three years. More information on the competition and list of finalists can be found here. SPESA members who are interested in joining Team RE:’s Advisory Council can sign up here.