Schooled in ag: School gives students a hands-on education

By Holly Kays | Published August 29, 2019 for the Smoky Mountain News | Click here to read the original article

With a new school year just begun, the 300 students who participate in Waynesville Middle School’s robust agriculture program now have an array of new woodshop equipment at their disposal. “In two weeks this will be like Santa’s little helper’s woodshop,” Noal Castater, agriculture teacher at WMS since 2010, said in an interview the Friday before the first day of school.

The equipment, which includes 17 pieces of woodworking equipment and eight engines, was purchased last spring thanks to a $5,000 grant from the Carolina Farm Credit Corporate Mission Fund. Out of 100 applications, 40 received funding, with an average award of $3,800.

Woodworking, power tool use and small engine repair are lifelong skills, said Castater, and it’s important for students to gain at least a rudimentary grasp of them.

Continue reading the complete, original article on SmokyMountainNews.com by clicking here.

Tri-County gets 10k grant from Bayer to fund STEM project

Originally posted by Heather VanDenmark for the Herald Journal on July 27, 2019 | Click here to read the original post

REMINGTON — Employees from Bayer Crop Science of Remington recommended Tri-County Intermediate School receive a $10,000 grant from the Bayer Fund’s 2019 site grant initiative.

The funds from the grant will be used to improve the school’s hydroponics program, which offers students engaging experiences that will develop 21st century skills.

According to TCI Principal Brian Hagan, the funds will be used to purchase two vertical hydroponic systems. This will provide students the opportunity to learn a different type of hydroponics system for crops such as peppers and tomatoes.

This article was originally posted on July 27, 2019 for the Herald Journal. Click here to read the original post in its entirety.

State Funding Enables Community Programs to Give MN High School Students Valuable Job Training Opportunities

In January, five community programs throughout the state of Minnesota were awarded $95,000 in grant funding to develop and implement paid learning opportunities for 16- and 17-year-old students. The funding came from the Youth Skills Training Program at the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (YST@DLI), which was created in 2017 with funding from the Minnesota legislature (Minn. Stat. 175.46) to help communities create local programs that give high school students exposure, training, certifications and paid work experience in five high-demand, high-growth industries: advanced manufacturing, agriculture, automotive, health care and information technology.

To be successful, local programs rely on connections between industry and education to ensure student experience is meaningful and relevant. Five pilot programs were awarded grants last year to develop paid learning opportunities in manufacturing, health care and information technology; this year, programs in Elk River, Hutchinson, Marshall, Red Wing, St. Paul, White Bear Lake and Winona will enable students in 27 school districts to get paid work experience in manufacturing and health care.

“Employers throughout the state are reporting an increasing number of unfilled positions in high-paying jobs that require a certification or two-year degree and describe significant challenges to find qualified and trainable employees to fill these skilled positions,” said Rich Wessels, Youth Skills Training Program Senior Project Manager. “The YST program is a way to address this issue by connecting industry with education to provide students with opportunities to learn about and gain hands-on experience.”

Click here to read the complete article, which was originally published in April 2019 on ACTE’s IndustryConnect blog.

Coding Grant Helps North Carolina Students Explore In-Demand Career Options

In Beaufort County, North Carolina, programmers are in high demand. Job forecasts conducted by local workforce development boards show a 94% growth rate for programming jobs among 27 eastern NC counties from 2016-2021; programming skills, along with tooling, machine and drone operation skills, have been among the most in-demand job skills listed by local and regional manufacturing businesses for three straight years.

When Beaufort County Schools (BCS) saw an opportunity to fund an extension of the district’s coding program into K-12 classrooms across the district and at the local community college, administrators didn’t hesitate to apply. Last fall, North Carolina Superintendent Mark Johnson announced that 16 school districts, including Beaufort County, had been awarded grants totaling $800,000 through the second round of the Coding and Mobile App Development Grant Program, which was launched in 2017 with funding from the state’s general assembly.

“BCS’s strategic STEM plan, the use of Digital Learning Competencies training, and the injection of real-world needs provided through our advisory process and partnerships with our local industries produced the perfect conditions for synergy around STEM including coding,” said Wendy Petteway, BCS Career and Technical Education Department Director. “We needed to expand beyond where we were and extend coding into K-12 across the district and at Beaufort County Community College, and the coding grant has provided the opportunity for that expansion.”

Click here to read the entire article, which was originally posted in ACTE’s IndustryConnect blog in March 2019.

State CTE Policies Hard at Work: Florida College Starts Mechatronics and Electromechanical Technician training program with job growth grant

For Career & Technical Education programs to succeed, collaboration between business and education must occur. As President & CEO of Realityworks, Inc, I’ve seen firsthand the impact of successful partnerships: Not only do students learn valuable academic, technical and employability skills, but they do so through relevant, workforce-driven programs that provide valuable real-world, hands-on learning opportunities.

State CTE policies are a key part of successful industry-education collaboration. In previous blog posts, I explored the welding and manufacturing program that Michigan educators worked with industry representatives to expand thanks to funds from House Bill 4313, and the health occupations program that Oregon educators worked with local businesses to develop with funds from a career-readiness grant. This month, we’re looking at St. Petersburg College (SPC) in Pinellas County, Florida. In April 2018, the four-year state college was awarded a $1,596,858 grant to start a Mechatronics and Electromechanical Technician training program.

Read the full article from ACTE’s Industry Connect November 2018 blog here.

Harper working to tackle the skills gap

The “skills gap” has become a popular buzzword, and for good reason. In 2016, nearly half of U.S. employers reported that they faced difficulty filling jobs due to lack of available talent. Both nursing and manufacturing in particular face a critical shortage of skilled workers, a trend driven largely by the aging baby boomer generation.

Just look at the stats:

  • By 2024, there will be more than 1 million job openings in the U.S. for nurses.
  • Over the next decade, 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will need to be filled nationwide.
  • And in Illinois, middle-skill jobs overall (requiring education beyond high school but not a four-year degree) account for 53 percent of the state’s labor market, but only 42 percent of the state’s workers are trained to the middle-skill level, according to the National Skills Coalition.

 

Click here to read the entire article published on the Harper College website. 

Manufacturing today offers a new world of opportunity

It’s National Manufacturing Month, and that makes October a great opportunity to take a fresh look at the industry’s role in our nation, our state and right here in Hopkins County. Its opportunities are real and growing, and they might be a good bit different than you imagine when you think about the industry.

 

For example, modern manufacturing is evolving into a more diverse sector, as much about creating things as producing them. The old perceptions of grimy plants, tedious manual tasks and dangerous machines are giving way as advanced technologies such as 3D printing, computer-aided design and robotics play a larger and larger role in bringing about our products.

 

“New jobs in modern manufacturing extend beyond shop floors and laboratories into offices, state-of-the-art tech centers and even your living room,” write the National Association of Manufacturers and Manufacturing Institute at their recruitment website, CreatorsWanted.org. “Everything that is made needs smart thinkers and doers to invent, market, distribute and maintain revolutionary products.”

Click here to read Ray Hagerman’s complete article published on The Messenger website.

How transformative tech can address the skills gap within construction

Technology is evolving at a rapid pace, with new devices and products being introduced on a daily basis to help enhance the workplace. It could be argued that the construction industry has been slow in bringing this in, and is yet to undergo a major transformation.

Firms now find themselves in a difficult position as they compete to an international completion, and having to deal with more complex projects and concepts. The threat of skill gap has also meant many companies lag behind compared to any other industry. This leads to many projects having a number of complications and delays which can be avoidable in this day and age.

Alongside this, the industry also suffers from an ageing workforce which may not be used to modern technological advances, resulting in a major skills gap amongst many companies in the industry. Thus, there is the incentive to retrain workers to be able to operate new technology and attract young people who are technological natives into the industry.

The industry needs to embrace transformative technologies in order to cater for the changing sector and to address the skills gap. This transformative technology includes hardware and software that are designed to bring about positive and more reliable changes for the benefit of workers.

Click here to read Tevor Horsley’s complete article published on the Construction Global website. 

Apprenticeships rebuild excitement for manufacturing careers, close skills gap: Pathways to Prosperity

A shortage of skilled workers in Northeast Ohio may have just as much to do with an image problem for manufacturing as a lack of training for potential employees.

The Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network, or MAGNET, is attempting to tackle both issues through its two-year apprenticeship program for high school students. Students in the Early College Early Career, or ECEC, program take tuition-free classes toward an advanced manufacturing and technology degree at area community colleges to learn the skills employers are demanding.

Through paid internships at local companies, the students see first-hand that many of the old stereotypes about manufacturing aren’t true.

Autumn Russell, ECEC’s executive director, said the program challenges longstanding notions that students either head to college after high school or into the workforce. Perhaps they’ll do both.

“We really want to create this paradigmatic shift in thinking, in redefining what success looks like for students,” she said. “Right now in our education system, all programs, all strategies, all initiatives are college prep.”

Click here to read Olivera Perkins’ complete article published on the Cleveland.com website.

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