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May 3, 2019

The Alabama Community College System (ACCS) and Boeing have teamed up with Next Flex to host the Flex Factor Final Pitch Event for select area high school classes. The “shark tank-style” pitches were presented on Thursday, May 2, in the Education Training Center at the Space and Rocket Center.

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.

For 6 weeks, the students worked in small teams to identify a real-world problem, conceptualize a hardware device to address the problem, identify a target market for the product, and engage in customer discovery research. To guide device conceptualization and business model development, students engaged with industry advisors from Boeing and academic officials from ACCS. During the competition, the student led teams pitched their products to a panel of representatives from Calhoun Community College, Drake State Technical & Community College, as well as representatives from Boeing, NextFlex, and Department of Defense representatives.