Aerospace Career Education
Aerospace Career Education (ACE) will create a diverse, world-class STEM workforce by educating students for high-wage, high-demand technical careers in Maintenance Mechatronics (MTX). Project ACE addresses a growing shortage of qualified aerospace technicians with interdisciplinary skills. The project will generate useful data and practices for high schools and colleges to recruit and prepare a larger and more diverse body of students for STEM careers. Its collaboration between Green River Community College, the local K-12 school district, a global aerospace company (Boeing), statewide Center of Excellence, a national dual-enrollment accrediting body, and cooperation with the Advancing Technological Education Center for Aerospace Technical Education (SpaceTEC) will enable wide dissemination. Project ACE will prepare more than 80 diverse high school students for college-level work through hands-on, industry-based, dual-enrollment courses. Students will earn both high school and college credit. Coursework will be complemented by paid summer internships in the aerospace industry and participation on robotics competition teams. Courses and activities will form a progressive career pathway from high school to a postsecondary MTX certificate and two-year degree. Project ACE will help our nation reach new heights in scientific innovation and economic productivity.
Project ACE reflects contemporary research evidence on effective practices and models. Courses will be co-taught by college and high school instructors using a "flipped" hybrid online/classroom structure. The project will advance scientific understanding by producing a diverse body of well-educated and skilled graduates, increasing the breadth of perspectives and backgrounds in our STEM workforce. It will use innovative industry practices to increase the effectiveness and sustainability of instruction. It will also improve the technical skills and general STEM preparation of high school educators. The project will advance understanding of how long-term degree pathways and industry-based practices can broaden access to STEM careers for low-income and under-represented students. Its evaluation plan includes quantitative and qualitative measures for assessing its impact upon students and teachers. Evaluation will use a combination of original instruments developed for the project, and standardized instruments. The evaluator will create a survey that will be administered at the beginning and end of the course sequence to track changes in students' educational and career aspirations. The project will administer two standardized instruments to participating students using a "pre-post" design. These instruments are: (1) the Developmental Asset Profile by the Search Institute, measuring growth in students' internal and external developmental assets believed to support resilience and growth and assessments for their National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC), measuring skill growth in in the areas of applied mathematics, locating information, and reading for information. Project materials will be rigorously evaluated and regularly updated using real-time labor market data. Educational, labor, government, and industry representatives will inform the project and engage their peers to ensure its long-term sustainability.