Educating Factory and Technical Workers

There was an article today over at CNN titled “Desperately seeking Americans for factory jobs” that stated:

There is a “critical shortage of machinists,” a common and crucial position in factories, said Rob Akers, vice president at the National Tooling and Machining Association. “Enrollment in this field in technical schools has been down for a long time.” The problem comes at a terrible time. Domestic contract manufacturers — known as “job shops” — are seeing a boom in business…Mark Engelbracht, owner of Omni Machine Works in Covington, Ga., is trying to hire just three new machinists. He, too, is having a hard time, a situation that will worsen as his older machinists retire. “Finding more work isn’t the problem for our business,” he said. “Getting the worker is becoming a problem.”

I think I might have the answer. It is the ATE (Advanced Technology Education) and its sponsored by the National Science Foundation. The NSF has invested millions of dollars in centers of expertise all around the country and they have consistently created high caliber graduates who have the technical and factory skills that are needed now that manufacturing is returning to the United States.

Go visit the ATE web site where it explains a that the Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program endeavors to strengthen the skills of technicians, whose work is vitally important to the United State’s prosperity and security. In ATE centers and projects, community colleges have a leadership role and work in partnership with universities, secondary schools, business and industry, and government agencies to design and carry out model workforce development initiatives.

One such initiative is called Advanced Manufacturing Technologies where efforts are made to advance knowlege and training specifically in the field of manufacturing. Visit them here.

One group of which I am familiar in the manufacturing arena is NCME. The provide educational materials for manufacturing and engineering and offer activity-based learning modules, faculty professional development and even students who graduate from the program and contribute to the manufacturing base in this country.

In the realm of information and communications technology, the ICT Center offers faculty professional development, consulting services and a steady stream of up-to-date information about the field view a network of blogs, podcasts and tweets. Check them out here.

In the area of building a future STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), MATEC NetWorks partners with industry’s SEMI Foundation to encourage high school students to pursue high technology careers. MATEC is a premier source of quality instructional materials used by educators and industry trainers in the areas of electronics, semiconductor manufacturing, automation and energy utilization technologies They provide timely, relevant professional development opportunities in the form of an internationally attended webinar series that anyone can attend.

You can check them out here.

These are three important resources, along with the other ATE Centers, providing technical information can form the backbone of recovery in this country and provide just the skilled Machinists and other personnel who can fill the exact positions that Rob Akers, vice president at the National Tooling and Machining Association is talking about.

Posted in: economy, industry

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Karl Kapp
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