Integration of STEM Community College Curricula and Industry Partnerships through National Certifications
Abstract: As need for a highly skilled STEM workforce increases, the linkage between secondary and post-secondary STEM curricula and their potential employers becomes increasingly important. The following paper details the implementation of the Advancing Manufacturing Initiative in collaboration with regional manufacturing partners, regional workforce development and Ivy Tech Community College. This initiative includes the increase of awareness of the need for skilled labor in manufacturing disciplines, the training and evaluation of local workforce and the creation of a bridge between regional workforce needs and the use of a standard measurement of skills through the implementation of the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council (MSSC) Certified Production Technician (CPT) exam.
After regional workforce needs were determined, a multiphase approach began integrating standardized testing at three different levels of education including high schools, dislocated workers and college students. Implementation included three variations for delivery, including blended (hybrid) learning of online and hands-on instruction, instructor led online only instruction and self-paced online instruction. These various educational levels and delivery methodologies aim at giving each learner the most applicable and effective instruction leading directly to the workplace or on an educational pathway from high school, to two year, to four year college degrees. The data collected shows a very successful model, which is both economically sustainable and able to meet current and future workforce needs.
Keywords: STEM - Conference Proceedings - Community College - Partnering