NSF ATE PI Conference

The annual NSF ATE Principal Investigator’s Conference, organized by the American Association of Community College (AACC), was held in Washington DC in the Omni Shoreham Hotel.  The conference had two showcasing events during which all projects were required to share their work in a visual display. There are currently over twenty funded NSF ATE Projects in Florida and all were in attendance. The conference provides a great venue for learning collaborations among projects as well as opportunities for the NSF program officers who oversee the various projects to review progress directly with the PI’s and project personnel.

FLATE congratulates all the Florida projects (22) P.I.’s and their teams at 14 Florida Educational Institutions for stepping forward to meet their own local technician education challenges with innovated solutions. Florida Colleges showcasing and/or presenting include those in the list below.

In addition to the showcasing sessions, the conference had a variety of session types including demonstrations, synergy sessions, forums, and discussions.  There were also inspiring keynote speakers, student poster sessions and a special program of events for alumni and students of ATE programs. Typically, over 60 students from across the country attend the annual meeting (sponsored by both AACC and the ATE College program that they attend) and are recognized by the leaders of the National Science Foundation.

In addition to its popular annual showcase, this year FLATE organized a session on advanced manufacturing, process control and instrumentation. As industries become more automated, quality gets integrated into production, and artificial intelligence creeps into all manufacturing operations, discrete industry sectors are using more and more of the same technologies in their production processes.  Joined by experts from ATE projects at Central College (NE), South Arkansas Community College (AK), and Florida State College at Jacksonville (FL) and nearly 100 conference attendees, FLATE’s panel explored the new and emerging needs of the broad chemical processing industry technician workforce. You can find the slide from the panel posted on FLATE’s wiki.

FLATE also participated in its partner’s sessions including a synergy session for Preparing Technicians for the Future of Work which focused on how we can engage technician education regional forums around emerging skills; PathTech LISTEN’s discussion session which is tackling the issue of tracking students after graduation to learn more about what kinds of career positions they move into; and the early morning Round Tables for Integrating Necessary Skills into our education process and Needed Math to define the skills needed and how to make math a more integrated and holistic part of the technician education.

Overall, the NSF ATE Principal Investigator’s Conference showcases the edge of advanced technician education, inspires and energizes all attendees, and provides promising practices for the ongoing improvement of technician education supporting emerging industry needs across the United States.

For more information about the conference and posted presentations, please visit the AACC website. For more information about the NSF ATE projects in Florida, visit FLATE’s website.

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