Volume 2, Issue 5 | May 2021
We are pleased to bring you news and resources in collaboration with the NSF Advanced Technology Education (ATE) community and industry partners. We hope that this content will be useful in this time of substantial educational change. For more information about our project, please visit our website.
Innovating Industry
Battery Manufacturer Wants 1,000 Technicians who “Collaborate, Communicate, and Collectively Drive Problem-solving”
As the site operations director for Ultium Cells LLC in Lordstown, Ohio,
Tom Gallagher’s responsibilities include hiring 1,000 technicians to produce electric vehicle battery cells in the $2.3 billion plant that is under construction.

When the company begins production in mid-2022 Gallagher said it will employ:
  • battery cell technicians who will operate all aspects of battery cell manufacturing;
  • quality technicians who will do analytical work to check incoming materials, production, and completed battery cells; and
  • maintenance technicians who will carry out electrical and mechanical tasks to maintain equipment and processes.

Most interesting to technical educators, says Gallagher, may be Ultium’s plan to utilize “an apprentice-type format” to educate technicians in-house. He would like technicians to have technical competency, which he defines as “application of STEM-based skills in industrial environments as well as critical thinking and the ability to work in a team environment.”

While math and science knowledge is important, Gallagher said he is most interested in how people apply their math skills in tandem with their willingness to learn, their capacity to think critically, and their personal history of collaboration. He said the company is looking for people who “collaborate, communicate, and collectively drive problem-solving.”

Ultium, which is a partnership of General Motors (GM) and LG Chem, is working with the new Center for Workforce Education and Innovation at Youngstown State University (YSU) to recruit applicants from Youngstown and Warren, two urban areas that have been struggling economically since large steelmakers exited in the late 1970s. Continue reading.
Justin E. Manley, a marine technology innovator for three decades, sees many interesting, well-compensated opportunities in the ocean-based or “blue” economy for people interested in hands-on, intellectual work. “There’s lots of roles that are a good fit,” he said.

Among the challenges for technical educators is the historically low visibility of the maritime sector, and the reality that maritime technicians must combine high-tech skills with the physical and mental capabilities to thrive at sea.

“Ocean technician jobs, whether they’re robotics or instruments or similar, there’s an added level of personal challenge involved, which could come from being sea sick. It could come from sleeping in a confined space. It could come from being surrounded by different types of people. It could be useful for faculty to help their students gain exposure to such stressors or challenges outside the normal academic elements of school. That’s going to help future technicians succeed,” Manley said during a recent Zoom interview.

In addition to providing strategic business services through his marine technology consulting firm Just Innovation, Inc., Manley offers commentary on the maritime robotics industry in his publication, "Uncrewed Maritime Systems Market Update." He is president-elect of the Marine Technology Society, a senior member of IEEE, a fellow of the Institute for Marine Engineering Science and Technology (IMarEST) and a member at large of the board of directors of Marine Advanced Technology Education for Inspiration and Innovation (MATE II). Continue reading.
From the NSF ATE Community
EvaluATE Announces the Launch of
New Website
Our colleagues at EvaluATE have launched their new website featuring a number of helpful tools including:

  • a re-designed home page,
  • a resource library that allows you to filter by evaluation task,
  • expanded descriptions of EvaluATE’s research on evaluation studies,
  • an overview of ATE evaluation tasks, and
  • an RSS feed for EvaluATE’s blog!

The ATE Survey also has an extended web presence, including an interactive dashboard displaying survey data from 2019 and 2020. Make sure to check it out!

EvaluATE is the evaluation hub for the National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program. 
Upcoming Events and Opportunities
AACC Seeks Community Colleges, Individual Mentors to Participate in MentorLinks
MentorLinks is a program designed for community colleges seeking to develop or strengthen STEM technician education programs. Colleges should be interested in working with an experienced community college mentor who has successfully planned and implemented a major change in a high-technology program. 
AACC is also seeking applications from 2-year college professionals to serve as mentors to colleges whose faculty and administration want to develop or strengthen a certificate or degree program for technicians in a STEM field. Mentors will receive an honorarium and travel support to attend national project meetings and to conduct college site visits (as permissible).
To apply to be a participating college or a mentor, please go to www.aacc.nche.edu/MentorLinks. The deadline is June 24, 2021.
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Disclaimer: This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under NSF DUE #1839567. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.