Implementing the Mechanisms to Lessen the Talent Gap in Advanced Manufacturing
This project seeks to increase the number of qualified workers in advanced manufacturing. First, to combat the growing skills gap between the entry-level workforce and graduates of secondary school and community colleges, the project will develop a one-year certificate program in Computer Numerical Control. Second, project staff will deliver educational symposiums to high school students and teachers to help dispel the myths of manufacturing as a non-technical career path. These activities are expected to increase the pipeline of trained precision machinists who can tackle the growing technologically complex realities of today's manufacturing environment.
Meeting this demand will help U.S. manufacturing companies remain competitive in a global environment. The project will benefit individuals by developing educational opportunities that lead to a skilled technical workforce. The project will provide evidence to the manufacturing industry on strategies that can be successful in dispelling common myths in advanced manufacturing. The project will feature five principal activities. First is attention to curriculum development, course revisions, and alignment between the CNC certificate, AAS programs in Machine Tool Technology and Automated Manufacturing Technology, and industry needs. Second is a focus on high-level equipment acquisition in the areas of multi-axis machining, coordinate measuring machines, and additive manufacturing. Third is provision of professional development/faculty training on new equipment. Fourth is the examination of apprenticeship programs to facilitate the awarding of college credit where appropriate. Fifth is a commitment to recruitment activities that focus on high school teachers, guidance counselors, high school students, incumbent workers, and returning adults. A research study will create new knowledge regarding the effectiveness of teacher externships and a student symposium on changing participant perceptions of the field. The project evaluation will examine the effectiveness and impact of Penn College's industry relationships, curriculum development, use of new equipment, and recruitment activities. The project will also evaluate the alignment of the intended learning outcomes with the needs of students and employers. The primary audiences for project activities are certificate-level and associate degree-level community college students; high school teachers, guidance counselors, and students; and community college faculty.