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Advanced Manufacturing

Category Archives

Survey Points to Growth in STEM Education Budgets!

Congratulations to our prize winners who participated in our recent survey on the state of STEM education in the USA!

  • iPad winner: Mike Weaver
  • iPod winner: Rick Vaughn
  • iTunes winners: Richard Hill, Tammy Wesson

The survey responses point to encouraging trends in STEM education:

45% of respondents expect their budget for STEM programs to increase.

This is great news! Despite challenging times for many states and districts, STEM education is growing. Only 25% responded that their budgets were shrinking. We know that any growth in this sector is only due to the hard work of those supporting and advocating for STEM – teachers, administrators, public officials, as well as student organizations, parents, mentors and volunteers. We salute all of you!

The fastest growing STEM education program is green technology.

Programs related to alternative energy, sustainability, wind, solar and other green economy topics are on the rise, when measured by definite plans to establish new curriculum. This is more good news! The shortage of skilled workers for the critical green economy is well-documented. Now more students will have the opportunity to develop skills and pursue rewarding, sustainable careers thanks to these new programs. We see this as an example of the education community stepping up to the challenge to provide in-demand skills for tomorrow’s world. We may have a ways to go, but we are on our way!

The most important criteria for selecting new equipment for STEM labs is quality of the equipment.

The quality of the lab equipment directly affects the sustainability of a STEM program. Poor quality equipment can undermine the vigorous efforts it takes to get STEM programs off the ground and engage students. High quality equipment can help keep programs thriving and effective. Our survey respondents reflected this fact by consistently rating quality as the most important factor when selecting equipment.

Thanks again to all who took our survey and congratulations to our winners!


2011 SkillsUSA Recap

This year’s 2011 Skills USA Championship in Kansas City, Missouri, was very
exciting! The students were prepared, they were energized and proved to be
GREAT competitors. This year’s AMT (Automated Manufacturing Technology)
challenge was a five piece game based after the childhood classic Connect-4
game.

SkillsUSA Connect4 project

After drawing the part and generating the CAM (Computer Integrated
Manufacturing) CNC code, they then prepared blank stock and made the parts.
This year’s challenge included the 5 part assembly. Those students who finished
the 5 parts, turned them in and got a change order for the top (the sixth
part).

In talking with one of the teams, I learned they competed last year and were
coming back for medals this year. This team event tests the skills these
students have under pressure while competing with the best in the nation. These
student’s have the right stuff! They are going to work and on for more
schooling to keep America competitive. For those who haven’t been to a National
Skills Leadership Competition (NSLC), seeing is believing. Pictures are good
but do yourself a favor, get there. There are over 18 acres of competitions on
just one of the floors with students competing on skills challenges from
Carpentry, Household Wiring, Masonry, to Cosmetology, Nail Care, Culinary Arts,
Automotive Body Repair, Robotics and Automation and Automated Manufacturing.
These are the skills that keep America moving!

Intelitek was the primary industry sponsor at this year’s Robotics and
Automation competition at the NLSC, providing 11 ER 4u robotic workcells for
students to compete with over a two day period. “This two person team
competition is exciting for us to host”, says David Crowell, Regional Sales
Manager for Intelitek and National Chairman of the Robotics and Automation
Competition. This competition tests the students ability to design, layout,
wire, program and prove the best solution for a workcell project. This year the
teams implemented the use of a pallet system to move parts around the workcell.
Teams were interviewed and had to present to a technical committee their
designs. This was done in a design review process and we were assisted by teams
of engineers from Honeywell who are based in Kansas City.

For more information about SkillsUSA, please visit www.skillsusa.org


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