Innovate, Design, Engineer, and Accelerate Career Pathway

The Advanced Manufacturing industry, which has a high rate of research and development investment and is fueled by innovation, continues to expand and grow regionally and nationally. Because manufacturing in the United States has transitioned from traditional models to advanced manufacturing, community college manufacturing programs must evolve to meet these changing industry environments. Working collaboratively with industry partners to determine advanced technical education needs, this project at Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC), a rural two-year college in the Virginia Community College System, is designed to advance knowledge and understanding within community college advanced manufacturing programs. It will provide a model for working innovatively with an entrepreneurial mindset and review, revise, and update advanced technical education curricula by engaging college faculty and industry representatives in a collaborative effort to promote teaching, training, and learning. The participation of the rural and low-income population in the region will be broadened, and the project results will be widely disseminated to enhance scientific, technological, and educational understanding and to serve students from under-represented groups. The project builds on its successful AACC MentorLinks project, which helped to grow the use of college Fab Lab for advanced manufacturing education and training. The primary goal of this project is to develop and implement an Innovate, Design, Engineer, and Accelerate (IDEA) Career Pathway with embedded certifications. It will equip individuals with a career pathway that prepares them with college credit, certifications, and skills recognized by the advanced manufacturing industry and entrepreneurial and design skills proven to assist in building basic skills identified by industry leaders. Evaluation activities will focus on which activities work best for students and industry. 

This IDEA program will introduce new curriculum infused with education and training in entrepreneurship and core skills needed in most advanced manufacturing technician positions. It will prepare participants for technician positions and spur innovation and new business development within the advanced manufacturing sector. The IDEA Career Pathway will also provide dual enrolled high school students in career and technical training a pathway from high school to an associate degree program to a baccalaureate degree and towards a career with predicted growth regionally. Students will have the potential to earn up to 24 credits while in high school, along with embedded credentials, all of which credits can be applied to Associate Degree in General Engineering Technology (GET) at the college, which is transferable to four year degree pathways. This project will be conducted in collaboration with the New College Institute, the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research, three regional high schools, and in close collaboration and with ongoing feedback from regional industry leaders. This project will provide professional development to college faculty so that they can successfully implement curriculum for the IDEA program. The project will also strengthen the knowledge base of college students through revised curricula that support critical thinking, scientific reasoning, and innovative design.

ATE Award Metadata

Award Number
Funding Status
ATE Start Date
June 1st, 2017
ATE Expiration Date
May 31st, 2021
ATE Principal Investigator
David Dillard
Primary Institution
Patrick Henry Community College Foundation
Record Type
Add Comment


(no comments available yet)