Posts Tagged ‘Industry’

ATE Programs Are Built On Collaboration

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

By now, you have undoubtedly heard the name Jackie Bray. She is the single Mom from Charlotte, North Carolina that President Obama identified on Tuesday night in his State of the Union Address. Jackie had lost her job as a mechanic. What happened next is a strong example of the partnerships happening between community colleges and industries all around the country. According to President Obama, the company Siemens “opened a gas turbine factory in Charlotte, and formed a partnership with Central Piedmont Community College” Siemens worked with the college to design courses in laser and robotics training, paid Jackie’s tuition, and hired her to help operate their plant.

Shifts in the economy, changing workforce demands, the growing need to provide widespread access to up to date skills and the unique position of community colleges to meet the demands of their individual regions is what has driven these partnerships with the private sector. And perhaps nowhere have these partnerships been more successful than in the already established practices of Advanced Technological Education programs around the country.

In building a successful partnership, consider the following five factors from the UCLA Community College Review:

1. Recognize a local/regional economic development challenge that calls for collaborative attention

Through regular conversations that identify common interests or community concerns civic leaders, industry representatives and community college administrators can formulate plans to address them. For example, at South Carolina Advanced Technological Education Center (SCATE), they facilitate this through the establishment of an Industry Consortium. Established in 1996, this model “provides a framework for colleges and their business/industry partners to work together to ensure a highly skilled technical workforce.”

2. Establish a shared mission and goals

The Laramie County Community College and officials of Wyoming for example share a common goal for increasing business opportunities in their region. On a national level, the Obama administration has set a goal to increase the amount of power generated from the wind to 20% by 2030. In Wyoming, wind reaches 30 to 40 mph with gusts of 50 or 60 mph. It is an ideal place to generate electricity from it and thus it presents a viable industry for the state’s future economy. Local communities therefore are very involved with the Wind Energy industry and working to incorporate it into their workforce. In response, Laramie County Community College in partnership with industry representatives at companies like Duke Energy Generation Services has created a successful, related degree program which was profiled in ATETV Episode 46.

3. Ensure that value is achieved for all partners (including students)

To ensure that a partnership is successful, community colleges working with private industry must identify the benefits up front, provide regular opportunities to reassess them and be flexible enough to change them when industry demands. Because all ATE Centers are created as cooperative efforts in which two-year colleges work with four-year colleges and universities, secondary schools, business, industry, and government, they’re organized to function this way from the start. Their programs are all designed to always be mutually beneficial. According to the NSF, these programs include: development of resources, such as high-quality programs and curricula that reflect the modern technological workplace, the training and placement of both mentors and interns, and the on-going evaluation of the center’s materials and services and their impact on student learning, and on employers and the institutions that manage the center.

4. Have strong executive leadership from both the college and industry participants

Every ATE National Center has organizational leadership that works to establish the initial vision, goals, and values that will inform all subsequent decisions. These leaders often include both industry and education professionals. SpaceTec, the National Science Foundation’s Center for Aerospace Technical Education in Florida, for example, has a “SpaceTec Partners, Inc Board”, which is comprised of representatives that include the President of Brevard Community College as well as the Director of Florida Operations at the Bionetics Corporation.

5. Develop a governance and accountability mechanisms

Advanced Technological Education programs achieve this in many ways. One example is by establishing a National Visiting Committee. At Florida Advanced Technological Education Center (FL-ATE), their committee is made up of leaders in industry, education, workforce and economic development from across the nation, with local representation. Committee members meet regularly with Fl-ATE staff to ensure stated goals and objectives are met.

To create a similar partnership in your community to the one mentioned in the State of the Union Address, you have only to look as far as an ATE Center for help. Advanced Technological Education programs have a successful track record with this work that reflects the benefits of such collaborations. It is because of this, that students get exposure to a wide range of technologies and will graduate with the experience they require to make them highly marketable.

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!

ATETV Episode 10: Back to Fundamentals

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

We’ve been talking a lot about big ideas in ATE on this blog: women in science and tech, social media as an educational tool, and the coming green economy. This week we’re turning to focus on two very practical and important parts of the educational experience: the math and science classes high school students need to be taking to get into ATE programs, and the internships that will help them land jobs after they complete their degrees.

But first, we profile student Matthew Kusza, who is studying environmental technology at Cape Cod Community College. Like many of our previous student profiles, Matthew turned to ATE to help him change careers. “I have four kids, and keeping busy with that and school and working to pay the bills,” he told us. “Most of the classes are at night, so that’s very supportive in terms of a work environment.”

Next we head out west to Southwestern College in San Diego, which has had fantastic success placing students in internships — and placing interns in jobs after school. “We still to this day have a hundred percent hiring rate with the industry of any intern that has completed a ten-week internship with an industry host,” explains Nouna Bakhiet, director of the school’s biotechnology program. By consulting with industry when designing their program, Southwestern is guaranteeing that students are graduating with the skills companies want and need.

Finally, we get back to basics and discuss the importance of basic math and science skills for ATE students. It’s not just that taking those classes in high school will better prepare students for ATE programs; it’s also essential for landing a job afterwards. “In our world, it’s of utmost importance that they have science and math because without that, they don’t have the technical expertise that we require,” explains Jill Heiden of South Carolina-based ESAB Welding and Cutting Products.

Math, science and internships: three fundamental building blocks of a strong ATE program and a successful career and in science and technology.