News

Mentor-Connect Opens to STEM Faculty Involved in Technician Education

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Image shows two people working at a computer together

All two-year college STEM faculty involved in technician education are now eligible for Mentor-Connect mentoring to prepare applications for Advanced Technological Education (ATE) grants from the National Science Foundation. For the past decade, Mentor-Connect’s cohort mentoring was available only to faculty at two-year colleges that had not had ATE grants in the past seven years.

“Any faculty member who has not been through grant-preparation training really could benefit from Mentor-Connect because two-year college faculty members are generally not living in a culture where grant-writing is an expectation,” said Elaine Craft, principal investigator of Mentor-Connect.

Mentor-Connect is an ATE project based at Florence-Darlington Technical College; the American Association of Community Colleges is a partner on the project. Mentor-Connect has assisted 210 two-year colleges, 383 faculty members and 221 administrators and grant professionals since 2012.

Eleven of the 14 Mentor-Connect mentee teams that submitted proposals during 2021 have been awarded grants in the ATE track for colleges new to ATE. This 80 percent funding rate is high compared to the NSF-wide funding rate of 25...

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NSF Grantee Launches Electric Vehicle Training Program

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An image of FutureTech Auto's logo

NSF grantee, Northwest Engineering and Vehicle Technology Exchange (NEVTEX) has helped fund a newly launched, comprehensive training standards-based - commercialized International Electric Vehicle (EV) training program.

The training program, called EVPRO+, provides technicians, service advisors, instructors, students, engineers, managers, and other automotive professionals with a comprehensive blended learning training program and resources supporting electric, hybrid, plug-in, and other EV technology systems.

Highlights of the program include:

  • Online training courses with quizzes
  • Searchable and time-stamped closed captioning
  • Interactive and searchable course material flip books
  • Optional certification for EV Certification

NEVTEX partnered with FutureTech Auto, an aftermarket automotive aftermarket distributor of EV Systems, to create the training program. Read more information about the program on EVPRO+'s website

Report Shows Positive Views of Skilled Technical Workers

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A screenshot from the report of a worker using tools

A report by the staffing company, Express Employment International, investigates skilled technical worker's attitudes on several questions, such as what do workers think about their work? Do they feel confident, anxious, or uncertain about their employment and futures?

The report reveals several positive perspectives:

  • Over 90 percent of skilled technical workers are proud of their work 
  • 74 percent of United States skilled technical workers have a good career path
  • 73 percent believe more young adults should pursue careers in their field
  • 67 percent believe COVID changed how society views their work

Skilled technical workers are defined as employees who perform manual labor and work in agriculture, automotive services, construction, maintenance, manufacturing, transpiration, or utilities. Although six in 10 skilled technical workers think society looks down on their profession, 60 percent of workers believe having a skilled job is respected more now than it was ten years ago. 

Read the full report on Express Employment International's website

Upcoming Event: Midwest Teachers of Transportation and Industrial Areas Annual Conference

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A screenshot of the MTTIA's website with information on their conference

Technology is changing at a rapid pace. It is crucial for a transportation teacher to stay up-to-date.

At Midwest Teachers of Transportation and Industrial Areas Annual Conference (MTTIA), there are hands-on training sessions with the latest vehicle technologies and classroom teaching strategies from professional trainers and OE manufactures. MTTIA features advanced hands-on training in the areas of: Automotive, Auto Body and, Diesel Equipment and Heavy Truck. MTTIA also features introductory hands-on training in the areas of: Small Engines/Powersports and Welding.

This conference is intended for secondary and post-secondary Auto, Auto Body, Truck, Diesel, and Small Engine teachers in the five-state area of the Upper Midwest

The conference is from August 3 to August 5th at Central Lakes College, Brainerd Minnesota. Visit their website to find out more information on the conference.

ATE Impacts Videos Now Live

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Cover of the 2022/23 ATE Impacts book.

As a part of the ATE Impacts 2022-2023 book, and in collaboration with Vox Television,  the ATE Impacts project is excited to release several videos highlighting the experiences of ATE's community. These videos feature students, administrators, educators, and industry partners sharing how ATE initiatives have impacted their lives and careers. The videos can be accessed on ATE's Impacts website.

Videos come from Pellissippi Community College, South Central College, Columbus State Community College, and Asnuntuck Community College and are from 4-6 minutes long. 

The ATE Impacts book showcases the role that two-year community and technical colleges play in building the skilled technical workforce and provide evidence of the United States’ critical economic need for technician education. The text, photos, and data throughout the 2022-2023 publication highlights the innovative and exciting work being done by the ATE community and by the people central to those efforts. Free copies of the ATE Impacts book can be obtained via the book request form.

New Report: Views on STEM Shortcomings

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An infographic from 3M showing two different views on science in everyday life

A new report from 3M, the international science-based manufacturer, shows persistent gaps in views on STEM and the skilled trades. 3M surveyed 17 countries with over 1000 participants per country. The reports highlights several key points of view on STEM:

  • 79% of participants agree that science companies would have a greater positive impact on society if they had greater workforce diversity and representation
  • 69% of survey participants agree that underrepresented minority groups often do not have equal access to STEM education
  • 57% of survey participants see a gender gap in the STEM workforce
    • 56% believe there’s a racial/ethnic gap
    • 40% observe an LGBTQ+ gap

The full report can be read and downloaded here, and 3M's website has more information and breakdowns of the report

Upcoming Event: Experience STEAM

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The blue and green logo for Experience STEAM, featuring a gear cog

Running from August 10-14, Experience STEAM is a week-long STEAM event allowing attendees to engage with hands-on STEAM activities from various NSF ATE projects and partners. Part of the Mall of America’s 30th Birthday Celebration in Bloomington, MN, the event features a mall-wide STEAM carnival, professional development opportunities, STEM camps, and competitions.  

This event is an excellent opportunity for your project or center to start outreach - the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN, has over 100,000 daily visitors. It is an ideal setting to disseminate information and engage the public with your work. The event's host, NCAT, asks that you bring a hands-on activity to help facilitate these valuable conversations. There is no charge to participate in the event other than travel. There are also opportunities to apply for professional development support.

Sign up here by July 15th to participate in Experience STEAM (slots are limited) 

For more information or questions, please get in touch with NCAT 

To register for the event, sign up here.

Upcoming Institute: Wisconsin STEM Educator Solar Institute

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Logo for Center for Renewable Energy Advanced Technological Education (CREATE), which shows three windmills

Mark your calendar for the Sixth Annual Wisconsin STEM Educator Solar Institute! Perfect for STEM educators or professors wanting more hands-on instruction on solar energy—this institute runs for three days, from July 12th to July 14th. 

Conducted by the Center for Renewable Energy Advanced Technological Education (CREATE), this institute will show participants how to use tools of the trade to install and commission a residential-size solar photovoltaic array. Necessary safety measures and electrical principles will be reviewed and practiced. Participants will also perform (and take with them) ready-to-use hands-on classroom lab activities that will bring solar energy to life in the classroom.

Please apply for the Institute by using this Google Form, and more information on CREATE can be found on their website.

Report: Maine to Start Free Community College

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Three college students sitting at a table with one of them working on a laptop

Maine has temporarily started a free college program to persuade high school students affected by the pandemic. The program goes into effect this summer and covers two years of tuition.

“If this opens the door and gets those students engaged and thinking about college, it’ll be the best thing for Maine, the best thing for our economy,” said David Daigler, president of the Maine Community College System, according to Inside Higher Ed

Maine's governor, Janet Mills, recently signed a supplemental state budget that included $20 million in one-time funding to create the program. The funds become available in July. 

Read more about the program in Governor Mills press release and Maine's website promoting free community college.

Open for Applications: CCPI-STEM Fellows 

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Image of the CCPI Logo

Did you see our tweet? We are excited to broadcast this new funding opportunity! 

CCPI-STEM Fellows program invites applications for Graduate Fellowships from individuals who are pursuing or beginning to pursue graduate degrees and engage in research related to STEM education and workforce development in community colleges.

The CCPI-STEM Fellows program, funded by ATE Central at the National Science Foundation (NSF) recognizes and supports community college faculty, administrators, and other individuals aspiring to prepare a workforce educated in STEM-related skills. 

The application deadline is September 15, 2022. Eligible candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.

Check CCPI's website for more information on the application and criteria

Other questions can be directed to Dr. Ashok Agrawa at Ashok@AgrawalAdvisory.com

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