Advancing Manufacturing through Applied STEM Education
Collaborating with rural secondary schools, representatives from the manufacturing industry, and a learning technology company, Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC) is developing a Mobile Simulation Laboratory and associated curricula to bring advanced manufacturing equipment and simulation technologies directly to high school teachers and students. Curricula are broken down into four modules: Machining, Welding, Automation, and STEM in Manufacturing. High school teachers are working alongside CVTC faculty to team-teach the Mobile Simulation Laboratory modules. Students completing the modules receive college credit and are encouraged to matriculate into postsecondary manufacturing programs. The regional manufacturing industry support the project in an advisory capacity, informing curricula and interacting directly with high school students through guest speaking events and company/plant tours. A week-long professional development workshop at CVTC will be held for high school teachers prior to the Mobile Simulation Laboratory's launch. The goal of the project is to expand STEM education opportunities, particularly advance manufacturing education to rural, underserved areas.
The project increases interest in advanced manufacturing among high school students which leads to increased enrollments at postsecondary manufacturing programs. Through rigorous evaluation and dissemination of project results, combined with targeted rural outreach and professional development, the project contributes to the economic development of the northwestern region of Wisconsin by addressing the need for more qualified technicians in advanced manufacturing.