Will the rise of robotics and artificial intelligence in the workplace eventually rob today’s students of tomorrow’s careers? The question has become a growing concern among experts and researchers in the education and technology arena. In fact, earlier this month, a survey from the Pew Research Center of 1,408 experts in the field found that a full one-third of them believed that education systems would not evolve enough within the next 10 years to prepare workers for future jobs. Read the Article
Astronauts (L-R) Timothy Kopra, Jeff Williams and Timothy Peake share a meal around the galley table designed and manufactured by Cypress-Fairbanks ISD students partially build using the Intelitek Spectralight CNC Machine. (Photo courtesy NASA HUNCH)
On March 22nd this year, the Orbital ATK Cygnus spacecraft launched from Cape Canaveral, destination the international space station and on board, buried in between 7500 lbs. of supplies was a very unique piece of equipment designed and created by the Cypress Woods and Cypress Springs High Schools in Cypress, Texas.
Under the instruction of industrial technology teacher Mike Bennett and as part of the HUNCH program, that involves students in fabricating real-world products for NASA as they apply their science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills, the students designed a galley table for the space station to serve the astronauts. The HUNCH program — High School Students United with NASA to Create Hardware has been running for 12 years already.
NASA contacted Mike in 2013. “They needed a focal point for everyone to meet together in the space station to share a table for a meal or a workspace,” Bennett said. “This was a great teaching opportunity and It makes it even more rewarding to know that we contributed a functional piece of hardware already being used.”
The students, participants in Mike Bennett’s advanced engineering design and engineering design classes, worked with the Johnson Space Center and Lockheed-Martin to create the design, then manufacture and build the prototypes and final version that was sent to space in March. The team used the Intelitek industrial manufacturing classroom tools in Mike’s lab including the spectraLIGHT CNC machine to create some of the parts needed for this project.
The fold-up table was designed with a latch system that allows it to be pulled up and out, doubling its length. One side is set up for a smooth surface with Velcro dots that can be attached to hold objects in zero-gravity. The other side features a seat track with clamps and holders ideal for a work circle.
Cypress Woods students in the precision metal class performed machining on the table parts using the Intelitek CNC machine. spectraLIGHT is an earlier predecessor to Intelitek’s latest milling, turning and machining solutions for industrial education classes. Intelitek designs and delivers education programs and teaching hardware that is industrial grade and is integrated with comprehensive curriculum, programming software, and pre-production simulation tools. This enables educators like Mike Bennett to teach beginners and advanced students. The programs take students from the most basic level to the point where they can manufacture NASA parts.
Intelitek’s mission is to teach career readiness skills – our programs are designed to teach students both in high school and at vocational or college level schools with the skills and knowledge real job providers are looking for. Intelitek Advanced Technology Programs teach relevant job skills using real-world tools focused on desirable industry specialties and in-demand trades.
The learning portfolio teaches methodologies and operations for areas like industrial robotics, manufacturing, materials handling, prototyping, hydraulics, mechatronics, electrical, CIM, process control and industrial maintenance. For more about Intelitek and to find a dealer near you go to www.intelitek.com
Owen Theeke from Cypress Woods High School is seen here machining aluminum rods. After cleaning, the rods were then sent for anodizing. (Photo courtesy NASA HUNCH and Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District)
In the middle picture, Leah Hepburn from Oak Ridge High School is inserting the anodized rods as stiffeners into the Payload Pantry. (Photo courtesy NASA HUNCH and Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District)
The two parts of the Payload Pantry with the aluminum rods going the length of the bags. The stiffeners are what allow the mesh covers to close properly so items don’t float out in zero gravity (Photo courtesy NASA HUNCH and Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District)
Another year and with even more excitement, Intelitek will once again play a major role in sponsoring the SkillsUSA National Competition by arranging and running three key competitions. Intelitek has been supporting SkillsUSA since 1991 and we are so proud to continue our commitment to growing the skills of America’s youth and workforce to meet the demands of the changing work environment.
In 1991, Automated Manufacturing Technology and Robotics and Automatic Technology competitions probably had a different feel than in 2016, but we are sure the challenges and competitive spirit have remained the same. Since then we also added Mobile Robotics Technology to the competitions we arrange and Intelitek will have a team of people and a lot of equipment involved in arranging, setting up, running and judging the events. We look forward to seeing another batch of eager participants.
This year the competitions have evolved again and we will combine planning, programming, simulation and real-world implementation phases into the process. Intelitek and our event partners will provide the teams with all the components, software, materials and machinery required.
As a company and as a team we challenge ourselves every day to advance our Teaching Solutions and when we arrive in Louisville, seeing the investment from the organizers and teams and the dedication of the participants is what drives us. SkillsUSA inspires our team to come back next year with even more vigor and newer ideas.
About SkillsUSA: SkillsUSA improves the quality of America’s skilled workforce through a structured program of citizenship, leadership, employability, technical and professional skills training. SkillsUSA enhances the lives and careers of students, instructors and industry representatives as they strive to be champions at work.
To learn more about the full line of education programs from Intelitek, visit www.intelitek.com
SkillsUSA is calling this years National Leadership and Skills Conference the best ever – and we would have to agree!
This year, Intelitek’s Automated Manufacturing Technology contest was made a closer replication of the industrial environment. Teams created virtual parts with our CNCMotion software before moving on to the hands-on production with our ProMill 8000. This modification to the contest received great feedback from the competitors and advisors.
The Robotics and Automation contest also ran smoothly again this year with the Puerto Rico team earning the High School Gold Medal and North Arkansas College earning the Post Secondary Championship.
At the Mobile Robotics field, we received a terrific surprise when Mike Rowe, a perennial supporter of CTE and SkillsUSA (also of the Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs” fame), visited the Mobile Robotics competition!
Trevor Pope, Intelitek’s Product Manager and Mobile Robotics competition committee member spent over an hour with Mr. Rowe in the Mobile Robotics contest area showing him what we do. Along with help from RECF, we built him a robot and created a mini competition against the Massachusetts team, which uses EasyC. Mike named the robot “Micro / Macro” and autographed the shielding.
Best yet, Intelitek will be featured on Mike Rowe’s new CNN show “Somebody’s Gotta Do It“! The program is expected to air on CNN in October. This will provide extensive publicity to Intelitek’s REC program and EasyC on a national news network!
Working with Mr. Rowe at SkillUSA was great fun, and were glad to be a part of the work he does in creating awareness of the awesome opportunities that exist for students in career and technology education! See our Facebook page for more pictures!
STEM Education Essential for Solving the Talent Shortage
According to research by ManpowerGroup, for the fourth year in a row, skilled trades rank as the most difficult jobs to fill in the United States. The root cause is the lack of skilled engineers, machinists, electricians, mechanics, and technicians available in today’s workforce.
These professions requiring skilled talent are emerging at a faster rate than they can be filled. For those pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), this presents a world of opportunity. Constantly changing technologies demand new skills, resulting in the creation of new jobs. Meanwhile, a majority of skilled workers in the U.S. are either approaching or exceeding age 50, indicating an even greater demand for these jobs in the future.
What is the solution? Effective STEM education!
As shown in the Manpower report, STEM education provides the best opportunity to close the skills gap. Whether through 4-year degrees, two-year career programs or shorter certificate programs, STEM education equips students with the skills that lead to high-demand, high-salaried, meaningful jobs. Students who pursue careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are creating better potential and more security for their futures, as well as for the futures of their respective economies.
March 14th kicked off this year’s annual SkillsUSA NH State Skills and Leadership conference, wherein students competed for the title of best-in-state across 30 events related to technical, skilled, and service occupations. We were proud to host the Automated Manufacturing Technology (AMT) competition at our Manchester, NH, headquarters on March 21st. It is always rewarding to see firsthand students fully engaged in their education, involved in a program that truly makes a difference in their lives. Andrew Clark, Alec Lemelin and Jacob Paradis from the Richard W. Creteau Regional Technology Center at Spaulding High School in Rochester, NH, won gold at this years event. On to on Kansas City for the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference!
The Skills competitions convey the value of collaboration and teamwork in a tangible way. Communicating, defining roles, managing time – all these are part of the process in competitive events, and students realize the value in a more concrete manner that through conceptual instruction.
To see these students succeeding, thriving, and setting goals in such an educational environment demonstrates how effective competitive events are in helping students reach their potential by delivering tangible job-ready, college-ready skills.
In the process, we also help to bridge the skills gap in the workforce even in some of the hardest to fill positions! More on that phenomenon in a later post. For now, we simply tip our hat to the great SkillsUSA students competing over the past month, and offer our thanks for the reminder of why all of us at Intelitek are so proud to do what we do in support of education!
Adirondack Community College, part of State University of New York (SUNY), and WSWHE BOCES (Washington-Saratoga- Warren-Hamilton-Essex Board of Cooperative Educational Services) have teamed up in an innovative program to prepare students to be career- and college-ready.
A robust college experience for high school students
The Early College High School Program, part of a public-private partnership, takes a new approach to dual-enrollment. Instead of offering college-credit programs at their own high school campus, students are bussed to SUNY Adirondack’s college campus for a half-day of courses co-taught by SUNY professors and the WSWHE BOCES high school CTE instructor.
This first-in-the-nation strategy delivers a robust college experience for high school students, with the goal of bolstering their skills and credentials upon graduation. Available starting in the junior year for students who pass the placement exam, participants can earn 7 credits each semester, up to 24 college credits by the end of the 2-year program.
Multiple pathways to success
The program provides multiple pathways to success for students. For students seeking direct-to-workforce employment, four industry certifications are available. The dual-enrollment credits also seamlessly integrate into Adirondack’s Electrical Technology Associates degree program. Credits also transfer to any 2- or 4-year degree program.
Project-based learning prepares students for industry certification
Project-based learning is the backbone of this program, featuring hands-on activities with industrial-level manufacturing equipment. Intelitek, a global developer of career and technology training systems specializing in advanced manufacturing, provided curriculum for the program. Students can access online curriculum through an e-learning platform that guides them through projects using the classroom hardware in topics like CAD, precision measurement, mechanical systems and electrical systems.
“Intelitek courses provide excellent exam prep for the MSSC assessments”
The relevant curriculum helps connect students to relevant skills needed in the workforce, thus helping to meet the program’s goal to connect the skills taught in the classroom with the needs of employers. To validate these skills, students also have the opportunity to earn industry certifications throughout the course. At the end of semester 1, students can take the MSSC Safety assessment; semester 2 leads to the Quality Practices & Measurement certification; Semester 3 -Manufacturing Processes & Production; and semester 4 prepares students for the Maintenance Awareness assessment.
“The Intelitek courses provide excellent exam prep for the MSSC assessments.” says Gage Simpson, Career and Technology Instructor for the WSHWE BOCES. In order to teach the courses, Simpson needed to pass the same assessments.
SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher praised Early College High School’s “innovative program that connects high school, college and the world of work, all aligned through a single challenging curriculum that keeps students focused, engaged and excited.” Such a collaboration between industry and education can serve as a model for success.
Earlier in March we attended GESS (Gulf Educational Supplies and Solutions) show at the Dubai World Trade Centre. We featured our modular Flexible Manufacturing System (FMS) for its ability to meet a wide range of academic requirements and budgets. At the show, we displayed our FMS system with SCORBOT-ER9 Pro educational robot and CNC BenchMill 6000 Milling Center machine. The system came with a table, parts feeder and Open FMS software that provide a comprehensive solution for the study and practice of FMS methods and operations.
The successful installation drew many people to the booth. This was the first time our FMS system was exhibited outside the USA and it was the only FMS in the show. For many it was the first time they saw the BenchMill 6000 in action.
From the intense interest we received in this system, we have a renewed appreciation for the global demand for training solutions that can deliver manufacturing skills!
Philip Przybyszewski, Project Coordinator for the Advanced Manufacturing Program at Manchester Community College talks about the advantages of Intelitek curriculum.
With funding from the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) Grant, the Community College System of New Hampshire (CCSNH) began creating training programs across NH to develop the workforce of the future for advanced manufacturing.
Philip Przybyszewski, Project Coordinator for the Advanced Manufacturing Program at Manchester Community College (MCC), led the effort to build a program that would deliver the relevant skills for New Hampshire’s workforce. That included suitable equipment and curriculum that could serve entrants from various backgrounds. To meet the demands of the grant, the program would also have to be accessible for trainees with a wide range of schedules.
The resulting certificate and associate degree programs implement a hybrid learning approach featuring Intelitek solutions. In the video below, Phil talks about the advantages hybrid learning brings to the unique challenges of the post-secondary classroom.
One specific element the study highlights is Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs). As the report mentions:
“CTSOs, such as SkillsUSA provide skills-based competitions for students…based largely on students’ abilities to work individually or in teams to solve problems and present projects to judges from industry and education. …They clearly support student mastery of the “STEM competencies,” as many problem- or project-based learning experiences do.”
In this way, CTSOs deliver some of the most important elements for successful STEM programs: engaging industry to guide the delivery of relevant skills and offering “true contextualized learning within the context of a specific industry or career pathway”.
As Julie Kantor of STEMConnector wrote recently in the Huffington Post: “The conference is filled also with corporations smart enough to get in the door early and meet the best and brightest of our country. These kids all come out of high school with a TANGIBLE SKILL.”
One example of success came in the 2013 SkillsUSA competition. Girls from Spaulding High School in Rochester, New Hampshire clinched gold at the National SkillsUSA Competition in Missouri, earning the title as the first all-female team to win the competition. The trio competed against high school students from all 49 other U.S. states to take home the medal in Automated Manufacturing Technology contest, which evaluates teams for employment in the integrated manufacturing technology fields of computer aided drafting/design (CAD), computer aided manufacturing (CAM), and computer numerical controlled machining (CNC). Team member Jackie McNally constructed the parts’ geometry in CAD, while Naomie Clark, the CAM operator, generated the tool paths and Ali Trueworthy was responsible for CNC set-up and machining.
The Rochester girls spent two years in STEM classes at the Richard W. Creteau Regional Technology Center under teacher and adviser David Foote. This academic program combined with the experiences in SkillsUSA helped the succeed in this year’s national competition. They insist that the key to their success is not just the technical skills, but collaboration — working together rather than as separate contributors.
All three girls are now pursuing engineering degrees – an excellent outcome that any STEM program would be proud to achieve!
This is just one example among the 5,900 students who competed in the 2013 SkillsUSA nationals! All of these participants no doubt obtained an enhanced educational experience.
Many new STEM initiatives are gaining momentum and funding, but lacking guidance at the implementation stage. Proven and successful CTSOs like SKillsUSA provide an excellent model to follow. Participation bolsters interest in STEM, while delivering relevant technical skills as well as leadership and problem-solving skills so valuable in any career field!