Ivy Tech grant to bolster modern manufacturing training

The Herald-Times

Ivy Tech grant to bolster modern manufacturing training

By Mike Leonard 331-4368 | mleonard@heraldt.com
August 20, 2012

Manufacturing in the United States has not gone away but it is changing — and Ivy Tech Bloomington is helping students keep up with the times.

Ivy Tech was recently awarded a $240,000 Advanced Technical Education (ATE) grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop a curriculum that prepares students for the demands of the modern manufacturing environment. The award is part of a larger grant of $880,000 awarded to a regional partnership of three community colleges: Ivy Tech Community College-Bloomington; Madisonville Community College in Madisonville, Kentucky; Jackson State Community College in Jackson, Tennessee.

The grant covers the development of curriculum and “learning objects” that focus on the problem-solving skills needed by modern manufacturers, said Kirk Barnes, dean of the School of Technology at Ivy Tech. The project also will help to improve high school recruitment strategies for the three state community college systems by expanding and enhancing dual credit course offerings in design, engineering, and technology.

One example of adapting to changing technologies is Ivy Tech’s recent acquisition of a $100,000-plus injection molding machine that can be used in producing medical devices for companies such as Cook Medical or Boston Scientific.

“When you’re talking about a medical device, it’s not a mudflap for a truck,” Barnes said last summer when the machine was being installed. “This is a medical device that is going to be going inside somebody. The people doing this work need to be really familiar with everything that goes along with that, including FDA regulations.”

The project builds on Madisonville Community College’s previously-funded NSF-ATE project which created a curriculum centered on the “integrated systems” approach advocated by Siemens, an internationally-recognized manufacturing and engineering firm. One of the objectives of this new grant project is to demonstrate that the same curriculum implemented by Siemens can serve a variety of industries, such as the biomedical industry in Bloomington.

As part of the project, Ivy Tech faculty members will receive training in the “integrated systems” approach at the Siemens facility in Allentown, Pennsylvania and at Siemens Technik Akademie Berlin in Berlin, Germany.

Copyright: HeraldTimesOnline.com 2012

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