Calhoun Partners With Boeing and the Cap and Gown Project to Kick-off a Virtual ‘Shark Tank-Style’ Student Competition

June 4, 2020

Calhoun Community College, The CAP and GOWN Project and Boeing have teamed up with NextFlex to kick-off their virtual version of the FlexFactor student competition.

FlexFactor is a learning program designed to inform, inspire, attract, and recruit students into the STEM sector through a project-based learning platform designed to immerse student audiences into the blended worlds of technology and entrepreneurship. The program is integrated into an existing classroom and uses a student-led learning approach to expose students to advanced technologies, business models, and the education/career pathways leading into the advanced manufacturing sector.

“We are extremely excited to be a part of such a great initiative for students who are interested in learning more about STEM and the many benefits of considering it for a career path,” commented Dr. Joe Burke, Calhoun’s Interim President. “Gauging students at an early age and building on their technical skills are extremely vital in helping them plan their futures,” added Burke.

This year, the FlexFactor competition is being held at The CAP and GOWN Project’s STEM Summer Institute in Huntsville. Over the next 6 weeks, students who were selected to participate in the program will be separated into small teams and asked to identify a real-world problem. Next, they will learn more about Flexible Hybrid Electronics (FHE) to conceptualize a hardware device to address the problem, identify a target market for the product, and engage in customer discovery research.

Participants will tour a local manufacturing facility as well as Calhoun’s Technologies buildings to learn more about the educational and career opportunities that are available in North Alabama. “Calhoun, FlexFactor, Boeing and The CAP and GOWN Project all have similar missions, and that is to provide transformative opportunities that inspire students to consider a STEM pathway,” commented Ashley Robison, Calhoun’s Recruitment Coordinator.

The program will conclude on July 10, where students will make their final pitches during a “Shark Tank-Style” panel of judges presenting their FHE devices. “NextFlex is proud to partner with Calhoun Community College to recruit the next generation of advanced manufacturing workers,” commented Emily McGrath, Director of Workforce Development at NextFlex. “With FlexFactor, we’re able to engage and mobilize a broad cohort of young people into this promising and essential industry,” added McGrath.

The CAP and GOWN Project

The CAP and GOWN Project seeks to provide transformative opportunities for underrepresented secondary school students in Huntsville, AL who wish to pursue college. We are a 501(c)3 nonprofit that provides our students in Huntsville with opportunities to tour colleges, work to improve their ACT scores, and engage in STEM education through our programs led by the amazing teachers in Huntsville City Schools. As a result of these efforts, a new community of college-bound leaders will emerge.