Technicians in Energy, Advanced Manufacturing, and Supply Chain Technology (TEAMS) Project
The Technicians in Energy, Advanced Manufacturing, and Supply Chain Technology (TEAMS) Project at the Community College of Allegheny County in Oakdale, Pennsylvania aims to bridge the gap between employers and workers in the energy, advanced manufacturing, and supply chain technology fields in Western Pennsylvania. Through this project faculty will collaborate with industry to create industry-relevant mechatronics specializations, and develop applied capstone projects focusing on the design, operation, installation, troubleshooting and maintenance skills essential to energy and manufacturing, and supply chain processes. Oil and gas operations in the Marcellus Shale of Western Pennsylvania have resulted in increased workforce demand not only for jobs directly in the energy industry, but also jobs in ancillary and logistics industries such as advanced manufacturing and supply chain technology. Mechatronics educated-technicians are needed for many of these jobs: from the midstream Marcellus Shale gas being produced and processed through the pipeline, to the energy-efficient operations and maintenance of equipment in the cracker plant, to the supply chain technologies used to distribute the petrochemicals, to the manufacturing plants that receive and utilize the chemicals. This ATE TEAMS Project will help to close the gap between employers and workers in these industries by building mechatronics career pathways through the community college and into the workforce. This project ensures that workers have the right combination of academic and industry-endorsed skill-sets to meet regional, state and national demands.
The TEAMS Project utilizes a student-centered approach to develop the occupational skills needed to prepare a growing influx of nontraditional adult students to succeed in the workplace. Career strategies and foundational core courses within the Associate of Science (A.S.) degree at the Community College of Allegheny County in mechatronics integrate national certifications. This creates a focus at the college on the skills needed to link higher education with workforce needs. Faculty development with equal emphasis on technology and pedagogy balances workforce and academic education and assessment. Through the TEAMS Project, the Community College of Allegheny County is establishing a transportable curriculum model which can increase access to higher education by rural, veteran, and other non-traditional populations. The project provides access to postsecondary STEM education and personalized supportive services to these groups. In addition, the project is also increasing the number of teachers and students that are nationally certified in mechatronics-related competencies. The TEAMS project adds to the number of faculty who are able to integrate career readiness with academic rigor in the curriculum. The TEAMS Mechatronics degree aligns well with the current workplace needs but also includes the flexibility needed to adapt to the evolving requirements of industry. The TEAMS project includes efforts to disseminate the methods and results of this effort to a national audience.