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Advanced manufacturing student works on a part design.

Building Manufacturing Capacity

Center for Advanced Manufacturing

The Center for Advanced Manufacturing is dedicated to supporting the United States manufacturing industry with applied research and workforce development programs.

Our Vision:
Through our practical work in AI and smart manufacturing technologies, additive manufacturing, and software enhanced machining optimization, we will build public and private partnerships to help fulfill this nation's need to build efficient and sustainable manufacturing capacity.

The University of St. Thomas Center for Advanced Manufacturing is centrally located in the Twin Cities metro area (about 10 minutes from both downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul and the MSP International Airport).

Read more about the Center in recent publications and news media:


Dr.John Wentz

Director of Center for Advanced Manufacturing
Dr. John Wentz headshot
Phone Number
machinist views a computer screen

Advanced Manufacturing Research

Advanced manufacturing uses cutting-edge technologies like additive manufacturing to build things in ways we have never thought about before. It uses software enhancements to build things better and faster than ever. Advanced manufacturing research helps explore this area.

Build Your Advanced Manufacturing Skills

Get involved with the Center to learn new advanced manufacturing skills, apply your knowledge, and make an impact in your community.

Graduate Certificate in Advanced Manufacturing

Level up in the workplace with four graduate courses of practical training. Use the latest software to simulate and solve common manufacturing problems in machining, materials, automated processes and statistical quality control. Can be completed completely online.
Graduate Certificate in Advanced Manufacturing

Micro-Credentials in Advanced Manufacturing

Add skills and enhance your resume with two graduate courses to complete a micro-credential in workplace ready topics like artificial intelligence in manufacturing, quality engineering and design of experiments.

Micro-Credentials in Advanced Manufacturing include:

America's Cutting Edge (ACE) CNC Training

St. Thomas is the Twin Cities hub for the Department of Defense's training program - America's Cutting Edge (ACE) CNC  Machining Training.

We offer free week-long bootcamps where you will gain hands-on programming skills on our state-of-the-art CNC milling equipment. 

Bootcamp Trainings are offered to:

  • High school students
  • Undergraduate engineering students
  • Anyone interested in reskilling or trying something new. 
St. Thomas ACE CNC Machining Training
A student and instructor at St. Thomas use a CNC machine.

Training Minnesota's Next Generation of Machinists

Making Minnesotan Machinists - the ACE Initiative at St. Thomas

Dr. John Wentz, mechanical engineering professor and Director of the Center for Advanced Manufacturing at  the University of St. Thomas, spoke with KSTP-TV on October 12, 2023 about St. Thomas being selected for the Department of Defense America's Cutting Edge (ACE) program, which aims to help fill the gaps in the manufacturing workforce.

Associated Faculty

Dr. John Wentz

Dr. John Wentz

Dr. John Wentz is an associate professor in the mechanical engineering department and Director of the Center for Advanced Manufacturing. John’s research interests include sustainable manufacturing processes, metalworking fluid purification and life extension, microfiltration processes, micro-scale manufacturing processes and more. Before joining St. Thomas, John worked on various projects related to fluid dynamics and sustainable manufacturing.

Dr. John Wentz
Dr. Brittany Nelson-Cheeseman

Dr. Brittany Nelson-Cheeseman

Dr. Brittany Nelson-Cheeseman is an associate professor in the mechanical engineering department and director of the materials science and engineering program at St. Thomas. Brittany's research interests include materials science and engineering, nanoscale science and engineering, smart materials, magnetic and electronic materials, additive manufacturing / 3D printing / fused deposition modeling, next generation energy materials, complex oxides, thin films and heterostructures.

Dr. Brittany Nelson-Cheeseman
Brian Plourde

Brian Plourde

Mr. Brian Plourde brings real-world engineering skills to the classroom. He co-founded multiple companies, including a company that has developed solar-power water pasteurization systems for the developing world. Brian's areas of expertise include numerical simulation, heat transfer and fluid flow, structural mechanics, energy generation and entrepreneurship.

Brian Plourde