Archive for July, 2011

Stay Tuned for Tech Tips

Friday, July 29th, 2011

No matter what STEM career you choose to pursue — Information Technology, Precision Agriculture, Marine Technology, or any of the many other options available to STEM graduates — there are many basic skills that are expected of employees.

Next fall, ATETV will focus on these various important aspects of employment through a series of segments called, “Tech Tips”.

Tech Tips will cover the need-to-know information: What certifications do I need to advance in my career? How do I develop the written and verbal communications skills that are critical to every industry? It will also provide critically important reminders — such as the need to keep your online Web reputation professional.

Throughout the season, blog posts will further expand on these and the soft skills that are needed for job success. If the term is unfamiliar, “soft skills” refers to the cluster of personal qualities and habits that employees bring to the job. We’ll talk with human resource experts to learn more about time management, problem-solving skills and the need for flexibility and adaptability in today’s rapidly changing marketplace. And, we’ll provide background tips for putting together a resume, conducting a job search and getting references.

Whether you’re career-hunting, new to the career, looking to advance — or still deciding on a career — you can always use a few tips.

Inside Industry: Reality TV for Tomorrow’s Technicians

Monday, July 25th, 2011

If you want to train students in the technologies of the future, who better to turn to than the industries that will employ these future technicians?

One of the hallmarks of the Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program has always been the close collaboration ATE has established between community colleges and industry to produce the up-to-date curriculum necessary to produce a job-ready workforce.

That’s why we’re excited to tell you about a new series of ATETV programs coming up this fall. Called “Inside Industry,” the segments will take viewers behind the scenes of some of the country’s leading industries, including manufacturing, welding, and information technologies.

These in-depth “job descriptions” will go beyond employer interviews to provide a real-life look at work environments, equipment, skills and people — presented from the perspective of recently hired technicians and their supervisors. You’ll see inside an advanced-tech manufacturing plant. You’ll watch a welder work with laser precision. You’ll hear firsthand from some of the country’s biggest leaders in the IT field.

Stay tuned –through “Inside Industry,” prospective students and educators alike will get a glimpse of the work life of today’s technicians and will hear straight talk from their employers about the opportunities and challenges that are part of today’s rapidly changing workplaces.

Talk about reality TV!

Blast Off!

Friday, July 15th, 2011

Space Shuttle

Last week millions of spectators gathered at the Kennedy Space Center and many millions more tuned in via TV or Web to watch history being made as the launch of the Space Shuttle Atlantis ended the shuttle program’s 30 years of flight.

Although the four shuttle astronauts are often the face of the space program, there are scores of people working behind the scenes. According to a recent feature story on the NASA website, a group of specially certified United Space Alliance Aerospace Technicians called spacecraft operators function as the “eyes, ears and hands” of the Shuttle Test Team at Kennedy Space Center. This group serves as an integral part of the processing and test teams that ensure the shuttle is ready to fly. As Spacecraft Operator Bill Powers notes in the article, “Our job is to make sure when [the astronauts] get in the [shuttle], there aren’t any surprises.”

There’s no question, Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technicians keep things running smoothly. Part of a highly skilled, technical team that supports equipment and systems designed to launch, track, position and evaluate air and space vehicles, these technicians operate, install, calibrate and maintain the integrated computer/communications systems consoles, simulators and other instruments designed to acquire data, test and measure. According to estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 30 percent of the current aerospace technician workforce will be retiring in the next six years, creating plenty of new job opportunities, which might range from positions in aerospace product and parts manufacturing, to air transportation support activities, facilities support services and scientific research and development services.

If these sound like intriguing professions, you might want to check out SpaceTEC. Made up of ten partner institutions in nine states, and headquartered at Brevard Community College in Cocoa, Florida, SpaceTEC is a tremendous resource for anyone interested in a career as an Aerospace technician. SpaceTEC provides educational materials, supports student recruitment and outreach activities to foster interest in aerospace and STEM subjects, maintains a national network of industry partners and promotes professional development opportunities for educators and practitioners. SpaceTEC’s National Resource Center for Aerospace Technical Education, based at Kennedy Space Center, additionally provides professional certification in several areas.

Besides Brevard, participating SpaceTEC schools and programs include Allan Hancock Community College in Santa Maria, California; Calhoun Community College in Huntsville, Alabama; the Community College of the Air Force in Montgomery, Alabama; Dona Ana Community College in Las Cruces, New Mexico; Edmonds Community College in Lynnwood, Washington; Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida; the National Center for Aerospace & Transportation Technologies; Thomas Nelson Community College in Hampton, Virginia; and Tulsa Technical Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Check out the individual web sites for lots more information on the field of aerospace technology, educational requirements, and job openings.

In the News: STEM Initiatives

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

You may have recently seen or heard news coverage on the urgent need for more skilled workers trained in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) education. The CNN/ Fortune magazine Web site recently wrote about it and NPR member station WAMU in Washington also weighed in with a report on The Diane Rehm Show.

If the bad news is that there is currently a shortage of STEM-educated workers, the good news is that there are many novel programs — both new and established — to encourage and promote STEM education and to help train and prepare students for the growing science and technology job market. And key to many of these initiatives are partnerships between education and industry.

For example, in 2009, the White House launched the Educate to Innovate campaign to help promote programs to “grow” America’s scientific and technological workforce, with a goal of cultivating as many as 3 million skilled workers by 2018. One component of this campaign is Change the Equation, a nonprofit, non-partisan CEO-led initiative which collaborates with educators and communities across the country to develop programs to inspire students’ interest in science and technology. One of the programs, the Science Career Ladder turns high-school and college-age students into “Explainers” where they work at the New York Hall of Science in Queens, New York, to help guide visitors through the scientific exhibits. Similarly, the Engineering is Elementary program launched by the Museum of Science in Boston provides younger children with curricula in key engineering concepts. Lessons cover subjects from the design of water filters and parachutes to how to clean up an oil spill, introducing sophisticated — and important — engineering concepts to more than 1 million students in kindergarten through fifth grade.

Similar partnerships are leading to new training programs in the manufacturing field. The Department of Energy recently announced a series of new manufacturing job training partnerships (together with the Manufacturing Institute, the Ford Partnership for Advanced Studies and Macomb Community College) to provide students with virtual technician training as well as other interactive materials in a variety of STEM areas.

The Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Program helped pave the way for these successful models. Created in 1992 to improve the productivity of American high-tech industries by “growing” the nation’s work force, the ATE program today has 39 centers around the country providing training for a wide variety of cutting-edge industries, from agriculture to biotechnology, to cyber security and new energy technologies. According to recent findings, in 2010, ATE Centers educated more than 70,000 students, including 60 percent at community colleges. ATE also offered programs at more than 1,250 educational institutions nationwide – 50 percent at two-year colleges. ATE also developed more than 2,300 curriculum materials and served more than 58,000 educators.

One of the keys to ATE success has always been its close working relationships with industry: by understanding employers’ expectations for technicians now and in the future, ATE helps formulate new strategies and develop new programs to ensure that students enter the workforce with the knowledge and skills necessary for success. AgrowKnowledge is a great example. This ATE Center works closely with its Industry Partners Council to identify employers’ needs, define skill requirements and prepare students for careers in precision agriculture, biotechnology, alternative energy production and natural resource management — agricultural fields that have grown increasingly more technical in recent years.

And that’s good news, indeed.