Since the beginning of mankind and paintings on cave walls, stories have connected generations and united communities.
Stories spark a human connection, ignite imaginations and convey messages to captive audiences. Simply put, no matter who you are, how old you are, or where you come from, a good story resonates.
Since 2010, Edge Factor has produced 60+ cinematic films and inspirational stories, and thousands of videos and interactive activities that showcase career pathways, teach soft skills, and make STEAM relevant. We have witnessed firsthand that when an Edge Factor film goes up, phones and distractions go down. We have seen wide-eyed students experience “aha” moments as they are introduced to industries and career pathways they never knew existed.
In Mesa, the largest school district in Arizona, one Edge Factor story has moved a CTE Director so deeply, that she started a movement.
Rewind 5 years… Marlo Loria, the CTE Director for Mesa Public Schools did not attribute much thought towards manufacturing careers or training programs. Like many parents and students across North America, she was unaware of the extraordinary career pathways and advanced technology available in today’s modern manufacturing companies.
But that completely changed when she watched Edge Factor’s film, Metal & Flesh. After a tragic snowmobiling accident claimed his left leg, Mike Schultz, a 5 time X Games medalists, faced his biggest challenge yet: How could he continue to pursue his dreams when he had lost the ability to stand on two legs? Three weeks after his leg was amputated, Mike designed his own prosthetic leg. The next summer, he wore his prosthetic prototype to win silver Motocross X-Games, had his name back on the Snocross leaderboards and began designing prosthetics for other challenged athletes, including military veteran Keith Deutsch. His story continues, as he just placed Gold in the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.
After watching this film, Marlo connected with Edge Factor and invited Jeremy Bout, Founder of Edge Factor to host a Keynote presentation in front of 1800 students at the Mesa Arts Center, to showcase manufacturing career pathways and technologies. She began building relationships with many local manufacturing business and association leaders, including Dante Fierros, owner of Nichols Precision, to build a manufacturing CTE program at Westwood High School.
“Watching Edge Factor’s film, Metal & Flesh changed my life. It opened my eyes as I saw the power of manufacturers impacting the world. Since then, I’ve opened a manufacturing technology program utilizing Edge Factor’s platform of media and interactive resources. This state-of-the-art media is at the heart of my program. As a CTE Director, I am seeing how manufacturing and CTE is coming alive in the context of stories, as our students are engaged and inspired to pursue careers in manufacturing and STEM,” said Marlo Loria.
In tandem with the start of this CTE program, she supported all of her middle and high schools with access to Edge Factor for Education memberships, a platform of tools to make STEAM relevant, share real life success stories, show career pathways, instill soft skills, build projects, and much more.
“The participation with the Edge Factor team and specifically their fine work with their Education platform has proven to be one of the stellar programs we are embarking upon here in Arizona. This dynamic educational tool is proving to be invaluable to our efforts in positively addressing the image of manufacturing and informing our community about manufacturing careers. It has the full backing of the Arizona Department of Education and we are very happy to be partner with the innovative team at Edge Factor,” said Dante Fierros.
With the excitement surrounding this community about manufacturing opportunities and the extraordinary CTE program at Westwood High School, students, parents, and even Senator John McCain came to see what this program was all about.
“Edge Factor ignited a fire within our CTE community. Because of the Metal and Flesh video I’ve now exposed CTE to Senator John McCain, who visited our manufacturing program, set up 20 internships for students at local manufacturing companies and created partnerships within my community that would never have been possible without exposure to Edge Factor (all within one year),” said Marlo Loria.
The creation of the Westwood High School manufacturing CTE program is a story worth telling. Edge Factor has produced a short film to share this story and encourage other CTE leaders to consider launching their own manufacturing programs and impacting their community, with their all-new film, “Full Circle”.
Vice President, Edge Factor