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Game of Trades

Second season of Project MFG's reality show airs on YouTube this month

As AMT and IMTS tell it, manufacturing is undergoing a bit of a renaissance; epitomized by its cross-cultural dive into mainstream platforms. The latest example of this comes from the organization itself, which pioneered a reality television show based on skilled trade workers.

Clash of Trades” Season Two is an online reality TV competition for advanced manufacturing streaming on IMTS+ . Originally released last month on the Project MFG YouTube channel, the show is similar to "Top Chef", AMT says, "but swap the stoves and skillets for 5-axis cutting tools and AutoCAD, and you're not far off."

The show was developed by Project MFG, a national campaign to catalyze growth in manufacturing employment among the younger generation that’s supported by big names in the industry and, notably, the U.S. Department of Defense. The “Clash of Trades” contestants – groups of students from different trade schools and technical institutions across the United States – compete against each other to design and build a specific item that meets certain parameters. In the first season the groups had to build a trophy; in the second season the item is a "five-piece aviation-inspired test system with a custom-designed moving wind turbine," as show host and New American Manufacturing Renaissance founder Andrew Crowe explains in the first episode.

While it has all the hallmarks of other well-known reality TV competitions, “Clash of Trades” is intended to inspire as much as to entertain. "It's more than just a competition," said Project MFG communications manager Lauren Davidson. "The show was created to highlight the trades and expand our reach to the younger generation – to change the narrative on what manufacturing is today.”

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