ATETV Episode 39: Helping to Shape Technologies of the Future

This week, we look at how Advanced Technological Education programs not only enable students to craft their own futures, but also help them to shape the future of emerging technologies .

We begin with our first segment at Florence -Darlington Technical College, where John Evans, a graduate of the school’s Electrical Engineering program, credits his ATE education with providing him with the valuable first-hand experience that led to his current job as a technician at ESAB Welding and Cutting Center.

As John notes, his everyday work routine includes “a lot of math, a lot of calculating, a lot of formulas in order to [determine] the voltages you need. This [requires a particular] way of thinking and troubleshooting.”

Through his training at Florence-Darlington, including a hands-on internship, John was able to acquire the demanding skill set that the position requires. “If I didn’t go to school, there would be no way that I could just come out here and do what I’m doing now and at [this] level,” he notes. “A person couldn’t come in off the street and [do this job].” Of particular value, he says, was the “double dose” of experience he received throughout his school program, as he gained classroom experience in the mornings and headed off to an internship in the afternoons where he applied the skills he’d mastered in the classroom.

In our second segment, we learn that employers in Alternative Energy fields are also looking to hire well-rounded individuals.

“What I’m looking for is students with initiative and ambition and smarts who are going to fit into areas like technicians and service personnel, and installation personnel,” explains Mark Fleiner of Rolls Royce Fuel Cell Systems. “[I need] people who have good hands, good minds, who don’t need a lot of direction, who can see things [for themselves] and are willing to [actively] participate, maybe say, ‘Hey, we could do it better this way.’”

Within these numerous Alternative Energy fields — Solar, Wind, Hydrogen, and Fuel Cell Technology, for example — there is plenty of room for students to make their own mark. “These educational programs are very flexible, very adaptable,” explains Diane Auer Jones of The Washington Campus. “[Today's technological education programs] have the ability to really figure out where the workforce needs are for both today and tomorrow and are able to address those needs very quickly.”

And, as we learn in our third segment, one thriving example of alternative energy is Fuel Cell Technology. This efficient and environmentally friendly source of power offers a wide range of applications for our society — and a wide range of career opportunities for tomorrow’s technology students.

As Rolls Royce’s Mark Fleiner notes, “Fuel cells basically can be applied anywhere that power is being used.” So, whether energy is required to move an automobile, to light up a building or put electricity on the grid, or to power a ship or airplane, fuel cells can fit the bill.

The end result: A healthy environmental footprint. “Right now, with our world’s increasing population, the burden on natural resources — crude oil, coal — is [rapidly] increasing ,” explains Pallavi Pharkya of Contained Energy, LLC. “Our [fuel cell] technology would help ease that burden. Energy is a global issue.”

Or, as her colleague Benjamin Emley puts it, “Fuel cells are the future.”

Tags: , , , , ,

Leave a Reply