Regional Additive Manufacturing Pathways
Additive manufacturing (AM), also known as 3-D printing, is the process of producing a three-dimensional object from a digital file. This process is of growing importance as the creation and manufacturing of complex 3-D products ranging from custom prosthetics and medical implants to warfighter engine parts becomes individualized and on-demand. Technicians working in 3-D printing must be highly skilled and adaptable to leverage this evolving technology across industries. Because of this growing demand, this project at Harford Community College (HCC) entitled the Regional Additive Manufacturing Pathway (RAMP) is designed to create an AM career pathway to increase the number of AM technicians in the rural region of northeast Maryland. To ensure that training is aligned with the needs of the regional manufacturing industry, RAMP will work with industry, the United States Military Base-Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG), the Regional Additive Manufacturing Partnership of Maryland (RAMP MD) and the NSF/ATE National Resource Center for Materials Technology Education (MatEdU). RAMP will focus on developing AM technicians with versatile 21st century skills in 3-D printing by collaborating with RAMP MD, a network of more than 150 manufacturers, scientists, educators and entrepreneurs in AM, with the collective goal of building the AM manufacturing base and educating the AM workforce. RAMP will place particular emphasis on a crosswalk of AM core competencies with the knowledge and skills required to work in the defense/military industry as an alignment of AM technician competencies needed in the defense/military industry has not yet been done. Project evaluation will track progress on technician training and its impact on the technician workforce. Dissemination strategies will include presentations at the annual RAMP MD Symposium to share project information and to expand the industry base of support. HCC will also share materials developed with MatEdU to be accessed on the Technician Education in Additive Manufacturing & Materials (TEAMM) website. Deliverables include the additive manufacturing certificate program, with a military/defense skills crosswalk that can be replicated by other colleges. RAMP will also engage rural students in AM technician training and 21st century problem solving skills. As a result, this project will provide a model of program development for other colleges in rural areas, who are considering dual enrollment in AM technician education and training.
RAMP targets several ATE tracks including Program Development and Improvement, Curriculum and Educational Materials Development, and Professional Development for Educators. To achieve its goals RAMP will: 1) Develop and implement the AM certificate dual enrollment program; 2) Provide professional development to postsecondary faculty; and 3) Expand opportunities for rural high school students to engage in AM technologies. Dual enrollment will strengthen the AM career pathway from secondary to postsecondary education or directly into the workforce. Professional development will provide college faculty with access to the latest developments in AM pedagogy and technology from MatEdU. Rural high school students will be engaged through AM summer seminars, visits to industry, and 3-D printing kits. RAMP will work with Harford County Public Schools (HCPS) and partners to build a dual enrollment AM curriculum. It will use the DACUM process to determine local AM skills and competencies required by academia and industry, and then crosswalk the DACUM profile with AM core competencies created by MatEdU. The college is committed to the long-term success of AM technician training by maintaining sustainable partnerships with regional AM business and industry, APG, and MatEdU.