Posts Tagged ‘ATE’

Stay Tuned: Classroom Visits

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

For anyone who is wondering what to expect from college courses – whether you’re a student in high school, a parent of a high-schooler, or an adult contemplating a career change and a return to studies– next season, ATETV will take you inside several college classrooms. During the upcoming series “Classroom Visits” you’ll hear from both instructors and students about specific course content and overall educational expectations.

If you automatically think “classroom” means only textbooks and lectures, think again. For example, an ATETV visit to a Biotechnology course finds math content specifically tailored to the laboratory, while core subjects such as cell culturing and molecular biology are taught, in part, through hands-on lab training. You’ll also learn that course work doesn’t end with science and math, as you’ll hear how biotech students are working on projects to help equip them for real-world employment, learning about venture capital, manufacturing quality checks and product marketing, among other things.

During ATETV classroom visits, instructors will describe the qualities it takes for students to succeed in college and will offer advice to help students make the most of their classes, while students share their own firsthand experiences with viewers.

Stay tuned, the new school year is just around the corner!

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!

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.

Profile: National Center for Manufacturing Education

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

This week, we’re focused on ATE’s National Center for Manufacturing Education. NCME is involved in a wide variety of activities designed to improve manufacturing and engineering technology education, as well as to increase the pipeline of skilled workers for the growing numbers of advanced technology jobs that help form the backbone of today’s U.S. economy.

As the NCME notes, the jobs incorporating the diverse technologies required for today’s advanced manufacturing industries are different in many ways from the stereotypical jobs of the past. Today, companies need highly trained and educated new employees to design and make products using advanced, computer-assisted software and automated production systems. As a result, careers in advanced manufacturing provide exciting opportunities for individuals who are interested in designing and improving products, operating high-tech tools and machinery, analyzing problems — and coming up with creative solutions to solve those problems.

So, what, exactly, does an advanced manufacturing career look like? You can see for yourself by checking out NCME’s interactive Web site

This great resource provides important facts and figures about today’s manufacturing industry. (Did you know, for example, that advances in technologies that cut energy use and lead to a cleaner environment are made by more than 70 percent of the private-sector manufacturers? Or that employment in pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing is expected to add 69,000 new jobs by 2016?) also offers users a full list of the many workplace responsibilities that fall within the field Advanced Manufacturing field (from Automated Manufacturing and Assembly to Biomedical Sciences and Manufacturing, to Nanotechnology, and Computers, Electronics and Telecommunications — to name just a few!)

Here, you’ll also find specific information about the numerous occupations that make up advanced manufacturing. (You’ll learn, for example, that Quality Engineers develop the quality control systems that ensure that each and every product and service sold to consumers is safe and reliable, and that without quality control — and Quality Engineers — stores and businesses might be faced with contaminated food and medicine bottles, faulty electronics or unsafe vehicles.)

Through you’ll meet real people, including Helen Rodriguez, who describes her career as a quality engineer and her work at Norwood Medical in Dayton, Ohio, a company that provides instruments and implants for the surgical fields. Helen tells careerMe: “My position always puts me in contact with people, which I love. The products we make help people; it inspires me to be able to help. So many things go wrong with surgery, and I am able to contribute to making a product that has high quality.”

Finally, through the NCME’s newly launched social networking Web site you can make direct connections with students, companies and mentors in the field of advanced manufacturing. Check it out!

The Definition of a Catalyst

Saturday, April 9th, 2011

ATE: A Catalyst for Success

In the field of chemistry, a “catalyst” is a substance that causes or accelerates a chemical reaction. Taking that definition out of the laboratory, a “catalyst” is defined as “a person or thing that precipitates an event or change.”

The Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program fits the description.

ATE was developed in 1994 to help prepare technicians for employment in the numerous high technology workplaces that are vital to our nation’s economy. There are now more than 39 ATE centers around the country focused on several broad technological areas including Advanced Manufacturing, Agricultural, Energy & Environmental Technologies, Biotechnology & Chemical Processes, Electronics, Micro- & Nanotechnologies, Engineering Technologies, and Information, Geospatial, & Security Technologies.


*During 2009, ATE centers and projects had 6,900 collaborations with industry, business, public agencies, and educational enterprises.

*In that same time period, 85,300 students took at least one ATE-supported course, while another 58,100 participated in an ATE professional development program.

As Dan Welch, Vice President and General Manager of BAE Systems Southeast Shipyards notes of ATE’s catalytic role, “Our training partnership with the [ATE] program is on target to grow by 30% each year over the next 3 years, yet we anticipate a need for a 40% increase in our workforce. The SMART [Southeast Maritime and Transportation Center] is poised to do just that – help us grow our maritime workforce.”

And, Brandon Dixon, who graduated from information assurance programs at 2 CyberWatch member institutions, earning an associate degree from the Community College of Baltimore County and a bachelor’s degree from Capitol College is a great example of how ATE can lead to change: Brandon is now employed as an information systems security engineer at G2, Inc., in Columbia, MD, where he works on virtualization, vulnerability, and exploits.

Check out the new ATE publication, “Partners with Industry for a New American Workforce,” to learn more –you’ll soon find out why ATE has been called a “catalyst for student success and economic development.”

Help Wanted: Women Engineers

Friday, February 4th, 2011

Last year, an article in the business magazine Forbes, highlighted “The Best-Paying Jobs That Women Aren’t In”. The magazine used a 2008 Department of Labor list of “nontraditional” jobs for women, coupled with 2008 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on earnings by occupation to calculate 20 occupations that women might want to reconsider.

Number Two on the list — just behind chief executive positions — were engineering jobs. According to Forbes’ calculations, females make up only about 12 percent of all engineers and engineering technicians, yet it’s one of the best-paying and fastest-growing fields today.

Why so few women engineers? It may be that engineering has often been perceived as an “introverted” field with its heavy focus on math and science and solitary work environment. But, as Forbes reports, colleges and industry have more recently begun promoting engineering as a job that can be both creative and collaborative, career considerations that are more likely to appeal to females.

Both Elaine Craft and Tressa Gardner of the SC ATE Center at Florence Darlington Technical College agree that the field of engineering needs more women. “We don’t have nearly as many women [enrolled in engineering classes] as we’d like,” Tressa told ATETV. And, as Elaine noted, “We need to make [engineering] careers more attractive to women. Females can be successful in ways they never realized.”

We did a little digging and came up with two websites that provide a lot of resources and background about engineering careers, including one that’s specially geared to women in science and technology fields. As both sites describe in plenty of detail, engineering offers women a wide variety of job opportunities — and it’s anything but dull!

The first site, TryEngineering, even has as its tagline, “Discover the creative engineer in you.” Here, you’ll learn, for example, how engineers develop sustainable energy solutions and design the electronic devices that enhance the quality of our everyday lives. You’ll find find job descriptions, educational opportunities, lesson plans and exercises that help illustrate and illuminate specific jobs and the day-to-day experiences of engineers. For example, the section “Explore Engineering,” introduces web users to both practicing engineers and engineering students who describe, in their own words, what it’s like to be in the field of engineering. The site breaks out career paths by majors (for both Engineering and Engineering Technology) covering a total of 25 major specialities including chemical engineering, civil engineering, computer engineering, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering.

Try Engineering provides preparation tips and advice on what classes to take, describes the work life of an engineer, and, through its Game section, lets you build a bridge or a lifeboat, learn about simple and compound machines, or choose the pipeline strategy best suited for various sections of the Alaska terrain.

The second site we found, Under the Microscope is geared to women who are in or are considering jobs in science and technology, including engineering. A profile section (Under the Lens), introduces readers to real women, such as Megan Chann, who describes in detail her summer internship as an engineer at the Alcoa-Howment manufacturing plant, where parts are made for jet engines. Under the Microscope also offers a long list of resources (Top Summer STEM Internships for 2011; Top websites to explore; Careers in Science; Scholarship Opportunities; even Smart Phone apps!) One of the lists that looked particularly valuable was the Top 10 Mentoring Resources for Women in Science and Engineering.

Who knows, maybe the next time around, engineering will be in Forbes business magazines’ lists of the Top 10 Best-Paying Jobs that Women ARE In!

Marine Science Programs – from North to South and East to West

Friday, November 19th, 2010


MATE – the Marine Advanced Technology Education Center – is headquartered at Monterey Peninsula College in Monterey, California. With the mission of increasing the size of the country’s marine technical workforce, MATE sponsors the annual ROV competition, which brings together students from around the country in a competition to construct remotely operated vehicles – underwater robots – an event that helps participants hone their technical skills and introduces them to the field of marine technology, as we learned in this week’s Episode.

In this week’s Episode, MATE Coordinator Jill Zande told ATETV, “The skills that students learn [as part of the ROV competition] can be applied in many different fields. They can become ROV engineers and pilots or they can choose to use their engineering and their technical skills to support other underwater technology platforms.”

Monterey Peninsula College is an obvious choice for an education in marine technology – students at the Northern California seaside campus can take a variety of classes – everything from Environmental Regulations to Research Diving and Safety – in their pursuit of either an A.S. degree or Certificate Program study in Marine Science and Technology.

But MATE’S Marine Science programs aren’t confined to California; colleges throughout the U.S. – North, South, East and West – provide a wide variety of aquatic programs for ocean-minded students. For example:

In the Northeast, Southern Maine Community College offers students an A.S. degree in Applied Marine Biology & Oceanography. Skills that can be learned through the curriculum – which emphasizes hands-on laboratory and field procedures – can be applied to careers in aquatic research and ecosystem management, with special attention given to collecting and identifying a diversity of marine organisms, conducting oceanographic sampling procedures aboard the school’s own research vessel, and microbiology and chemistry laboratory techniques.

Heading further down the East Coast, New York’s Kingsborough Community College is located on a 72-acre waterfront campus in Brooklyn, and offers a two year Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree in Marine Technology with a focus on vessel operations. Sample courses include Vessel Technology I and II, in which students are introduced to seamanship theory and the fundamentals of vessel handling through extensive on-board training, including piloting, operating rigging and deck machinery, as well as classes in Marine Electronics and Navigation. Students who have completed this program work in positions such as chief mate, captain, small engine mechanic, assistant manager of a marina, tug crew and mate on a private yacht.

Continuing the voyage south, the Marine Technology curriculum at Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington, North Carolina provides students with extensive shipboard experience and a hands-on approach to skills training from its location on the banks of the Cape Fear River. The curriculum prepares students to use and maintain electronic navigation devices, physical and chemical measuring instruments and sampling devices and Cape Fear graduates have gone on to positions in the U.S. Navy, the National Marine Fisheries Service and Lucent Technologies, among others.

Not surprisingly, a number of marine technology programs are based at Florida schools, including Florida Keys Community College where A.S. degrees are offered in Diving, Marine Environmental Technology and Marine Engineering. Located in Key West, FKCC’s program in Diving Business and Technology is especially popular, providing the education and diving core requirements needed for a career as a SCUBA instructor, a dive boat captain, a commercial diver, police diver or scientific research diver, as well as careers in dive medicine.

But, you don’t have to be on one of the coasts to take advantage of marine studies — there are numerous technical programs available in the center of the country for students who are interested in working in and around recreational boats. For example, at Tennessee’s Chattanooga State Technical Community College, a program in Motorcycle and Marine Service Technology provides students with academics in diagnostics and troubleshooting and maintenance of internal combustion engines and the other electrical and mechanical components necessary to the marine services industry. Similarly, at Iowa Lakes Community College, a curriculum in Marine Service Technology prepares students for careers at marinas, national marine corporations, marine manufacturers and personal watercraft dealerships.

Back on the West Coast, Northern Oregon’s Clatsop Community College maintains an active rapport with the U.S. Coast Guard and offers classes in its Maritime Science Department that include Marine Safety, Marine Licensing Programs, Navigation, Charts, Tides and Currents and Boat Handling as well as Marine Licensing Programs and Marine Electronics.

And finally, Saddleback College, located in Southern California’s Orange County offers students a certificate program in Aquarium and Aquaculture Science. Courses focus on the science of rearing and caring for marine and freshwater animals and the chemical, physical and biological environment of the aquarium ecosystems, and at the college’s 4,500-square-foot aquarium facility, students care for species such as corals, jellyfish, urchins, stars, perch and even sharks.

For more examples of Marine programs at colleges around the country, as well as career options available in the Marine industry, click here or check out BoatUS magazine’s comprehensive career guide, “2010-2011 Boat Lovers’ Guide to Marine Trade Schools.”

Ships ahoy!

Community College Summit

Friday, October 15th, 2010

The White House Summit on Community Collegescollege

Last week, the inaugural Summit on Community Colleges was held at the White House, helping to draw attention to a valuable educational resource. As Dr. Jill Biden noted in the program’s opening remarks, “[Community colleges serve as] an important next step in our [nation’s] efforts to meet the President’s goal of having the best-educated, most competitive workforce in the world by the end of this decade.”

Community colleges are an American invention that were first introduced nearly 100 years ago to help broaden educational opportunities. According to the American Association of Community Colleges,
as of the Fall 2007, a total of 7.4 million individuals were enrolled in credit programs at 1,165 community colleges nationwide. Forty percent were attending on a full-time basis; 60 percent attended part-time.

Here’s what President Barack Obama had to say in his remarks at the Summit, “[Community colleges] are places where workers can gain new skills to move up in their careers. These are places where anyone with a desire to learn and to grow can take a chance on a brighter future for themselves and their families – whether that’s a single mom, or a returning solider, or an aspiring entrepreneur.”

We didn’t have to venture further than this week’s ATETV Episode to find a great example of these very circumstances: Laramie County Community College student Stacy Brandt is enrolled in the school’s Wind Energy Technology Program. Stacy was a stay-at-home mom for eight years, but as she told ATETV, she needed to go back to work following her divorce and was looking for a career with a future.

“I don’t fit in the box,’” Stacy explained. “I love the hands-on aspects of working on the wind turbines…and I think if you have a job that is also your interest, even your passion, then it makes it easy to get up in the morning.” Plus, she adds, “My son is now 9. He thinks what his Mom is doing is cool.”

Writing about the White House Summit, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan noted, “Community colleges have never been more important. They are educating the workforce of the future – the radiologic technicians; the registered nurses; the installation experts on solar and wind power; the IT and cyber-security technicians; the displaced workers in need of retraining and new careers; and scientists and other professionals.”

Check out the ATETV Archives to learn about these and other offerings at community colleges around the country, and hear from other students about their experiences. We think you’ll find that community colleges provide lots of cool options.

ATE Central – A Wealth of Information

Friday, October 1st, 2010

This week, ATETV adviser Nouna Bakhiet from Southwestern College in San Diego, described an ATE Program that’s helping to launch students into the Biotechnology field — which is booming in Southern California as well as many other areas of the country. Here’s what she says:

San Diego is a national hub for Biotechnology. Southwestern College started a Biotechnology technician training program in 1999 to serve the minority population of the San Diego South Bay. The program attracted participants seeking jobs as well as transfer students. The students complete a set of rigorous lecture and lab courses to prepare for real-life research internships.

In 2004, the ATE-sponsored BETSI (Biotechnology Education and Training Sequence Investment Project) was launched to bring cutting-edge Biotechnology practices to Sweetwater Union High School District and to train Southwestern College student in the fundamentals of Biotechnology. The BETSI model helps get pre-college students excited about the field and helps position community college students for successful careers as Biotechnology technicians and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) majors. From high school to community college to the workplace, BETSI is an education and training cascade bringing students from books to the benches of research.

Believe it or not, BETSI is just one of 349 ATE projects and centers at community colleges around the country. Covering a wide swath of subjects and specialties alphabetically ranging from A(AgrowKnowledge: The National Center for Agriscience & Technology Education) to W (Water and Wastewater Technician Training Institute at Bowling Green Community College), the ATE programs are designed to support and inspire educators, students and the general public as they explore the depth and breadth of the Advanced Technological Education Program.

You can find descriptions and links to all of these programs, encompassing nearly 3,000 courses, modules, and activities on ATE Central the ATE’s online portal and one-stop shopping resource. ATE Central’s digital library can help direct users to ATE’s full range of easy-to-use online resources, which include curricula, learning objects and podcasts. The portal also serves as a central communication and support point for all of the many individuals involved in ATE centers and projects and through the site’s collaborative tools and reference materials, enable educators to implement successful projects and mentor new projects.

Take a look, but leave yourself plenty of time — from Nanotechnology to Viticulture and Enology Science (wine making) to Terrorist Agent Control Technology and everything in between, there’s a wealth of information and ideas about Advanced Technological Education programs to keep you engrossed for a very long time!

Coming Up Next on ATETV…

Friday, September 10th, 2010

It’s hard to believe how fast time passes, but it’s been one year since the launch of ATETV!

Since then viewers have “met” a wide spectrum of individuals who described the numerous programs and opportunities available through the Advanced Technological Education programs at community colleges around the country. Along the way we became acquainted with leaders in such emerging fields as Alternative Energy, Biotechnology and Cybertechnology; were introduced to students who were following their dreams studying exciting programs in simulation and video game development and exploring “high-flying” careers in Wind Energy as well as Aviation Technology; and talked with ATE leaders from around the country who told us about the many up-and-coming career opportunities available at community colleges nationwide.

Now, ATETV producers are back at work on 40 new videos. Once again, they’ll be going behind the scenes to visit classrooms, industries and other settings to bring viewers a firsthand look at the many ways that community college programs are leading to good-paying jobs and rewarding futures — and at the same time, filling the many critically important new technology positions that will prove key to our country’s economy, our environment and our future.

For a quick glimpse of one of these new videos, this week we’re sharing video footage shot last month by an ATETV production team at Three Rivers Community College in Norwich, Connecticut. As you’ll see in the clip — and learn more about in an upcoming ATETV video — the college’s Project TLC (Technology Learning Community) provides incoming college freshmen with an accelerated summer preparation program in math and English, along with college readiness skills. The program’s dynamic “learning community” not only provides students with important group settings in which to grow and develop, but also brings in industry speakers to share their experiences and even takes students on industry tours for a firsthand look at today’s real-world employment.

And there’s much more to come! Stay tuned for 40 new ATETV videos to learn about the innovative new educational programs and promising career opportunities that await students at community colleges around the country — it’s shaping up to be another exciting year!