Advanced Technological Education .

Welcome to the ATE Central Connection! Published the first Tuesday of each month, the ATE Central Connection is meant to disseminate information to and about ATE centers and projects, providing you with up-to-date ATE news, events, reminders, as well as highlighting new centers, projects, and resources. In addition, we will also highlight an educational topic with complementary resources found within ATE Central to help illustrate how ATE resources can be used in the classroom.

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In This Issue

Academic-Industrial Collaboration

From AccessATE:

Communicate with Employees

This tip sheet, provided by DeafTEC at the Rochester Institute of Technology, is from the ACE It! series on acing conversations with potential employers by knowing how to advocate for students, inform the employer how to effectively communicate with employees with disabilities, and educate the employer about workplace accommodations. This tip sheet provides educators with guidance on how to communicate with employers. Let employers know that communicating with an employee with a disability need not be awkward, uncomfortable, or intimidating, because it's really not that different from communication with anyone else. Simple tips and specific strategies are provided. Links to additional resources are also included.

From National Convergence Technology Center:

Engaging Employers, Defining Skills, and Preparing Students

This presentation, provided by the IT Skill Standards 2020 and Beyond project (ITSS) and the National Convergence Technology Center (CTC), was part of a special webinar at the 2021 WASTC conference. This presentation discusses best practices and strategies for employing the BILT model to energize employer councils through a structured process that prioritizes entry-level job skills. The presentation explains how the ITSS project grant uses that model in its work to update skill standards nationwide across multiple IT job clusters. This recorded presentation runs 22:55 minutes in length. PDF presentation slides are also provided.

From Minnesota State Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence:

Adopt-A-School Guide

This 13-page guide, from the Minnesota State Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence, is intended to help manufacturers create partnerships with local schools. "Partnership ideas range from tours of facilities, to internships, and everything in between. Bringing students into your manufacturing facility is a great way to help youth connect classroom learning to a real business environment." This guide includes a table of contents and the following sections: Why Adopt-A School, How to Start the Process, How You Can Help, Addendum A/Addendum B - Communication Checklists, Success Story, and Acknowledgements. The How You Can Help section includes information on how to facilitate or participate in on-site events, equipment donations, student interactions, work-based learning programs, career counseling, student organizations, and education programs.

Community Connection

Preparing Accessible Presentations

Members of the ATE community give a lot of presentations, and due to the pandemic, many of these have moved to remote or hybrid formats, which adds another layer of technical challenges for both presenter and audience. When preparing for an in-person, remote, or hybrid presentation, there are simple steps you can take before, during, and after to make your work as accessible as possible for all audiences.

Before you present, consider how to build accessibility into your decisions and design. If you are using a program like PowerPoint to create a slideshow, check the color contrast of your slides and use large, clear fonts to ensure greater readability. If you are integrating audio or video content into your presentation, make sure it has captions (or a transcript) for deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals. Fortunately, many web conferencing applications like Zoom now offer automatically generated live captions, but conference organizers should be prepared to provide American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters as needed.

During your presentation, be prepared to speak descriptively about visual features on your slides, such as charts, graphs, or images. Describe important features of these graphics such as shape, size, relative position, and direction, which will help to convey your visual information to blind or visually impaired individuals. Try to keep acronyms and jargon to a minimum unless your audience is sure to be familiar with them (e.g., ATE, NSF), and explain unfamiliar terms as necessary. Speak clearly and at a steady pace to make ASL translation or closed-captioning more accurate.

After your presentation, you may be requested to share slides or a recording. Make sure that any video includes captions (and check the transcript for accuracy). If you plan to share your PowerPoint slides, Microsoft has built-in accessibility features that allow you to create alt-text for visuals, check color contrast, and improve the ability of screen readers to read your slide text in the right order. If you plan to export your slides to a PDF, Adobe Acrobat has similar features for checking the accessibility of your document.

For more information, be sure to read the AccessATE tips sheets on Creating Accessible Presentations and Creating Accessible PDFs.

ATE Success Tips: Websites

Resources to Analyze Website Accessibility

An important component of outreach strategies is to make content accessible to as wide an audience as possible. While many social media platforms often build in accessibility features like alt-text for images, it can be more complicated to ensure websites are accessible. Fortunately, there are several applications and services that automatically inspect the accessibility of websites and website features and suggest changes to make content more accessible.

Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool (WAVE)
This free web accessibility evaluation tool provides a simple way to check the accessibility of a web page's content. After entering the URL of interest on the main page, WAVE will display the page marked up with embedded icons indicating potential accessibility errors, alerts, features, and other information. The left sidebar presents a summary of what WAVE detected on the entered page, and users can click the embedded icons or explore the sidebar for brief explanations of their meaning. WAVE also offers browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox.

WebAIM Color Contrast Check
The WebAIM Color Contrast Checker provides an interactive tool to check a given pair of colors. The tool also allows users to interactively adjust the lightness of their provided colors, updating the computed contrast ratio automatically as changes are made.

Text on background image a11y check
When text is placed over a background image, it may be difficult for some users to read. Developers and designers can use this simple tool to check whether text is readable over an image. To use the tool, visitors enter their text, select the text color and font size, and upload their background image. The tool will identify colors in the image's palette and give each color a pass/fail grade and a compliance percentage.

Accessible Name & Description Indicator (ANDI)
ANDI lives in the bookmarks or favorites section of a user's browser toolbar, and when clicked, it automatically analyzes the current webpage and displays a window flagging accessibility issues and suggesting recommended actions. It also indicates what a screen reader should say for interactive elements. To install, simply drag the icon from the page linked above to the toolbar of any browser (ANDI works on Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari).

Readers looking for more information can also read the AccessATE tip sheet Creating Accessible Websites.

Did You Know?

There are more worrisome signs for college enrollment levels for the coming year. The percentage of 2021 high school graduates who have completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is almost five percent lower than among 2020 graduates, amounting to some 100,000 fewer seniors applying for federal aid.

This is according to a report from the National College Attainment Network, which cautions that these figures could improve as more students complete the FAFSA, although the decline is in line with downward trends in federal aid applications since the pandemic began.

Read more about how these figures were calculated and what the implications are for undergraduate enrollment in the report from the National College Attainment Network.

Select STEM Education Resources

A few online STEM resources from outside of ATE, that you may find of interest:

Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-based Learning

Published biannually, the Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-based Learning (IJPBL) features pieces on research and best practices in the field. Problem-based learning is a learner-centered pedagogy that focuses on the skills and knowledge gained as students work through scenarios. Educators new to the pedagogy, and even those who are well-versed in it, may benefit from the journal's content. For example, the latest installment, Special Issue: PBLing the unPBLable, contains pieces on implementation challenges and benefits and the future of problem analysis. The special issue's introduction offers a useful primer of each article's content, and may be a welcome place for readers to begin. In addition to browsing the latest issue, readers will find archived content from 2006 to present. Most articles are between 10 and 20 pages, making them manageable for busy readers. Click on a title to view the abstract before committing to the piece, or click the PDF button to jump right in. IJPBL remains open-access with support from the School of Education at Indiana University, the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education at the University of Oklahoma, and the Center for Research on Learning and Technology at Indiana University.

The Concord Consortium Blog

The Concord Consortium is a Concord, Massachusetts-based non-profit educational research and development organization that seeks to introduce helpful technology into the teaching of science, math, and engineering. The consortium's blog, which dates back to January of 2008, can be a helpful resource for teachers, students, or anyone who is fascinated by the latest developments in the intersecting worlds of education and STEM. The monthly write ups average about 700 words. Each one focuses on some topic that students of STEM will likely find engaging and educational. Recent blogs have focused on the common architectural styles supported by the computer-aided engineering tool Energy3D, the deception of unconditionally stable solvers in the production of video games, and two "global experiments" on the policy of climate change.

Mason OER Metafinder

The Mason OER Metafinder from The Mason Publishing Group at George Mason University Libraries is a powerful search tool that allows users to search record metadata from seventeen digital libraries and repositories, including the Digital Public Library of America, OER Commons, and AMSER-Applied Math and Science Education Repository. Searches are conducted in real-time and are not pre-indexed. To get to the actual metafinder, visitors should click on Mason OER Metafinder from the homepage. The metafinder allows users to enter search terms in full record (allowing users to search across the entire content of a document), title, author, or date range. Users can also choose which sources the metafinder should search by unselecting repositories below the search bars (all repositories are included by default). As an example, by searching for San Francisco in the full record search bar, the top 755 results are displayed from over a million sources retrieved. The option to narrow down results is available on the left-hand side of the search results. The Mason Publishing Group also offers a companion Sciences Metafinder, also available from their homepage, which specifically searches scientific repositories for science resources.

Do you have some great STEM resources you'd like to share with ATE Central? Email us with your ideas at

ATE Events

Upcoming Events
Info WiCyS 2021 Aurora, CO
Gen Learn About ATE Funding and Mentor-Connect Online
Eng Best Signal and Interconnect Technologies for ADAS/EV Infotainment Systems Online
Eng Federal Aviation Administration Unmanned Aircraft Systems Symposium EPISODE IV Online
Eng How to Achieve Automotive EMC Certification Success at the First Pass Online
Eng Future Automotive HPC Architecture and Elements for Success Online
Info National Cybersecurity Virtual Career Fair Online
Eng Inter-Processor Connectivity for Future Centralized Vehicle Computer Platforms Online
Eng Innovation of Hardware and Software Will Drive the Future of Safe and Affordable Mobility Online
Eng Don’t Let the Future of High-Voltage Cables Shock You Online
Eng Petabyte-Scale Sequence Search: Metagenomics Benchmarking Codeathon Online
Info National Cyber Summit Huntsville, AL
Gen Evaluation Tasks Online
Eng Managing the Complexity of Sealing Battery Housings in Electric Mobility Applications Online
Ag/Env 7th Life Discovery – Doing Science Biology Education Conference Estes Park, CO
Gen AACC Future Presidents Institute Washington, DC
Gen AACC John E. Roueche Future Leaders Institute Washington, DC
Gen Preparing the Workforce for Industry 4.0 Washington, DC
Gen 2021 ATE Conference: Broadening Impact through Innovation Washington, DC
Eng Automotive Testing Expo Novi, MI
Gen Reflections From ATE PI 2021 Online
Bio/Chem NABT Professional Development Conference Atlanta, GA

For more events, please visit the ATE Central Events page or, if you have any upcoming events that you would like posted on ATE Central or in the ATE Central Connection, please submit them online.

To add a continuously-updated list of ATE and STEM education events to your website, use the ATE Event Widget.

News & Reminders

Nominations Open for Terry O'Banion Student Technology Awards

The League for Innovation is now accepting nominations for the 2021-2022 Terry O'Banion Student Technology Awards from League Alliance and Board member colleges. This award honors two deserving students who demonstrate a special talent in technology, passion about moving toward a career in technology, academic excellence, and strong financial need. Winners will receive $1,000 to be used for education expenses (e.g., tuition, fees) and a plaque commemorating their achievement.

Each separately accredited League member institution may submit one nomination for the Student Technology Champion award and one nomination for the Student Developer Champion award. (Dual enrollment high school and early college students are not eligible.)

Nominations will be accepted through October 29, 2021. Please refer to the Terry O'Banion Student Technology Awards page to learn more. The guidelines page provides detailed nomination information. Contact Kelly Dooling with questions.

Mentor-Connect Opens Services to Faculty Who Are New to ATE

Mentor-Connect is opening its mentoring services to two-year college STEM faculty members who have not previously received a grant from the National Science Foundation's Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program. Previously, the Mentor-Connect mentoring opportunity was only available to faculty whose colleges are eligible for small grants for institutions new to ATE.

Faculty interested in applying to be in Mentor-Connect's tenth cohort – who will receive mentoring from January through September 2022 – are encouraged to attend an Orientation Webinar at 2 p.m. (EDT) on Wednesday, September 8. The webinar provides an overview of the ATE program, explains Mentor-Connect's services, and offers general tips for grant-funding success. To register for the webinar, click here.

To access Mentor-Connect's online application for The New-to-ATE Two-Year STEM Faculty Mentorship click here. Mentor-Connect applications are due by 11:59 p.m. (EDT) on Friday, October 8, 2021. Selected faculty will be notified Friday, November 5.

Nominations are Open for EvaluATE's New Outstanding ATE Evaluation Awards!

EvaluATE is excited to share the call for submissions to recognize excellence in ATE evaluations. Evaluators, principal investigators, and program officers are encouraged to nominate evaluations of ATE projects, centers, and small, new to ATE projects.

EvaluATE is looking for evaluations that exemplify the qualities of outstanding evaluation, including usefulness to stakeholders, appropriateness of methods, and overall quality.

The deadline for submission is September 10, 2021. Submission forms and additional information can be found on the award website. Reach out to Lyssa Wilson Becho with any questions regarding the awards submission or review process.

Call for Submissions for New ATE Journal

The Journal of Advanced Technological Education (J ATE) is a new peer-reviewed technical journal focused on technician education at community colleges. J ATE is now welcoming submissions to be published in upcoming issues. For members of the ATE community, publishing in a peer-reviewed technical journal like J ATE will be an excellent way to disseminate work, promote technical education programs, and share research with like-minded educators and the wider technical education community.

There is no cost to publish, access, and read the journal. In addition, there are no subscription or submission fees. J ATE authors are invited from ATE projects and centers, community college faculty, university education researchers, and industry personnel. Our target audience will include community and technical college faculty and staff, as well as K-12 educators, industry members, and those readers with interests in micro-nano technology and related fields, NSF ATE, and technician education. The journal is supported by the Micro Nano Technology Education Center (MNT-EC) with participation from InnovATEBIO (The National Center for Bio Technologies), the National Center for Autonomous Technologies (NCAT), and the National Center for Next Generation Manufacturing.

J ATE will include:

  • Articles and short communications on a variety of topics relevant to teaching and learning in technician education at all levels. This will include innovative pedagogical methods and related research.
  • Articles that demonstrate new educational activities, lab experiments, instructional methods and pedagogies that can be adopted in community and technical colleges.


NSF Releases New ATE Program Solicitation

Exciting news - the newest ATE program solicitation is now available from the National Science Foundation! The focus of the new solicitation is the same as it's been in years past in that it provides funds to advance the knowledge base related to technician education.

In this cycle, an estimated 45 to 80 standard and continuing grants will be made totaling approximately $75 million for 2022. Grants may be awarded in a wide variety of sizes and durations. The actual number of awards and sizes are subject to the availability of funds and quality of proposals.

To read about the important updates and revisions to this program solicitation, check out the ATE Impacts blog on the topic.

AccessATE Tip Sheet: Workplace Communication and Safety for Physical Disabilities

It can be a challenge to talk to potential industry employers about workplace communication and safety for employees with disabilities. Check out this tip sheet from DeafTEC and AccessATE on Workplace Communication and Safety for Physical Disabilities for helpful hints and resources to prepare you to discuss these topics with industry partners and advocate for your students.

This resource covers tips for communicating with individuals with disabilities and ensuring people with physical disabilities can be safe in the workplace, as well as links to additional useful resources. To learn more, be sure to read the AccessATE blog post on using Person-First or Identity-First language to describe people with disabilities.

AccessATE supports the work of the NSF-funded Advanced Technological Education (ATE) projects and centers in making the materials and activities they develop more accessible for all students and faculty, including those with disabilities. The project aims to increase awareness and understanding of accessibility requirements and provide guidance, tools, and support that offers solutions and helps achieve compliance with accessibility standards.

AccessATE Tip Sheet: Workplace Communication for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Employees

Employers often are unsure about how best to communicate with potential employees who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. This tip sheet from DeafTEC and AccessATE provides helpful hints and resources to prepare you to discuss with employers how to effectively communicate with deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals.

This resource covers strategies for conversations in one-on-one interactions and group settings. To learn more, be sure to read the AccessATE blog post on how COVID-19 makes communication more challenging for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals.

AccessATE supports the work of the NSF-funded Advanced Technological Education (ATE) projects and centers in making the materials and activities they develop more accessible for all students and faculty, including those with disabilities. The project aims to increase awareness and understanding of accessibility requirements and provide guidance, tools, and support that offers solutions and helps achieve compliance with accessibility standards.

Upcoming Event from ASEE: Preparing the Workforce for Industry 4.0

The American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) is hosting an in-person event, ASEE: Preparing the Workforce for Industry 4.0, which will take place in Washington, D.C., on October 13-14, 2021.

Engineering is at a crossroads. This includes its practice in the workplace—and how it's taught in the classroom. New technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), nanofabrication, and the internet of things (IoT) have shifted the engineering landscape.

The event features a series of TED-like talks, along with industry and academic leaders, a member of the National Science Board, and other luminaries.

To learn more about the project and for details about registration and accommodations (including early-bird pricing), visit the ASEE Workforce 4.0 site.

ATE Program Overview Brief

Did you know that in 2019 ATE grantees educated 65,000 students? ATE covers a wide range of fields, from agriculture to advanced manufacturing to cybersecurity and beyond. During its twenty-eight-year history there have been ATE projects in every state of the US.

Learn more about the ATE Program with the ATE Program Overview Brief.

ATE Impacts 2020-2021 Book Now Available

Free print copies of the ATE Impacts book, to distribute on your campus, to your industry partners, or elsewhere can be obtained via the book request form. Interactive flipbook and electronic (PDF) versions of the ATE Impacts book are also available for viewing and download on the ATE Impacts website. Feel free to distribute copies of the virtual ATE Impacts book to campus colleagues, to your industry partners, or to other stakeholders.

ATE Central Social Media Directory

Looking to jump-start your project's or center's outreach efforts? Take some inspiration from others in the ATE community!

The ATE Central Social Media Directory offers an online compilation of all the ATE projects and centers who have social media profiles, as well as some ATE partners and collaborators. This resource provides an easy way to learn best social media practices, forge professional connections, and stay in touch with the ATE community.

For additional guidance on outreach and building a social media presence, check out the ATE Outreach Kit.

New Student Success Story Videos in the Works

As part of ATE Central's most recent funding we are looking to create a second round of our Student Success Story videos. There will be fifteen new videos in this series and we are actively looking for a diverse set of ATE students with engaging stories and successes to feature.

Do you have a student who you think might fit the bill? Fill out this short survey to tell us about them! Vox Television will be producing these new videos for the community; production will begin in late fall and continue over the next two years.

We look forward to working with you on this exciting project and featuring these and other videos from the whole community on the ATE Central portal. Please don't hesitate to reach out with any questions about the video series or our other tools and services.

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