Wichita State University College of Technology (WSU Tech), SpaceTEC, Space Coast Consortium Apprenticeship Program (SCCAP) and Kamm Consulting Group (KCG) were awarded a $120,000 grant to arrange US College tours to Germany so instructors, students, and apprentices at selected colleges can learn about Industry 4.0 advanced manufacturing apprenticeship programs and also establish apprenticeship exchange programs between the U.S. and Germany.
As a means of furthering the development of advanced manufacturing education in the US, the National Science Foundation (NSF) Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR) and the Office of International Science and Engineering (OISE) have invited grantees with an active Advanced Technological Education (ATE) award to participate in an international training and education opportunity. MakerTEC (Manufacturing Alliance Keeping Education Relevant to Technical Employee Competence) is a project awarded by ATE to WSU Tech in September 2016 to create a multi-state Coordination Network (CN) for aviation, aerospace and advanced manufacturing workforce development. Led by SpaceTEC executive director Steve Kane, MakerTEC is building resources to address the industry’s need for skilled workers that are able to succeed in today’s advanced manufacturing environment by refining and strengthening technician preparation across all levels of education.
The grant will be used to fund a pair of trips to Germany for instructors and up to 24 students to tour German Dual Education Apprenticeship Programs at vocational training centers and leading Industry 4.0 advanced manufacturers. The primary focus of this trip will be to establish apprenticeship program exchanges for students, instructors, world-class standards, curriculum and lab exercises between the U.S. and Germany.
The NSF announcement comes on the heels of a recent SCCAP Apprentice Signing Ceremony attended by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in July to kick-off the first cohort of eight Mechatronics Technician apprentices signing on with SCCAP members Airbus OneWeb Satellites, RUAG Space USA, Rocket Crafters and Knight’s Armament Company.
SCCAP is a Florida Department of Education registered apprenticeship program with three registered advanced manufacturing occupational apprenticeship standards influenced by German apprenticeship models. These occupations are: Advanced CNC Machinist, Mechatronics Technician and Advanced Fiber Composites Technician.
SpaceTEC provides the general administration and fiscal transparency required of the program through its 501c3 status, and will assist as the Principal Investigator to seek federal, state, and local funding to support the apprenticeship program. "SPI/MakerTEC is honored to partner with SCCAP to win this NSF award. This will enable instructors and students at selected colleges with advanced manufacturing programs to travel to Germany, not only to tour their world-class apprenticeship programs, but also to establish apprenticeship exchange program ties with German vocational training centers and industrial leaders in Aerospace, Defense and Aircraft/Aviation advanced manufacturing," said executive director Steve Kane.
KCG will be contracted to coordinate the tours to meet with leading vocational training centers in Germany’s industrial belt that stretches from Nurnberg through Stuttgart and Augsburg to Munich. KCG will arrange the tour with existing KCG GAP (Germanic Apprenticeship Program) Turnkey Solution Partners including Hoffmann Group, Festo, Kuka, Siemens, EMCO Group and Weiler. The tour will replicate similar tours conducted by KCG in the past. This tour also intends to include visits to some very high profile space, defense and aircraft manufacturers such as Airbus, RUAG and Lufthansa.