New Micro- Nanotechnology Education Center (MNT-EC) Serves Technician Education

Nanotechnology Technician Education
Photo by L N on Unsplash

As urgent pandemic needs came to the public’s attention in the first half of 2020, the speed of additive manufacturing technologies and how quickly teams emerged to handle the shortages. Teams around the nation leaped into the void to demonstrate a truly just-in-time solution. The ongoing crisis and PPE (3D printed and other components) further show a greater need for technicians in 3D printing and other technical fields, such as nanotechnology. 

A newly funded National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education program – the Micro Nano Technology Education Center (MNT-EC). According to the award news: “The MNT-EC will directly increase the numbers of community college faculty participating in micro- and nanotechnology technician education, thus supporting an increased number of students who receive technical education degrees and certificates in micro- and nanotechnology fields. As a result, this project will support preparation of a skilled technical workforce in a field that has an enormous impact on the nation’s economy, security, and health.”

This project will be led by Pasadena City College in collaboration with Edmonds College, Portland Community College, and Northwest Vista College. In addition, the MNT-EC will connect existing micro and nano NSF ATE Resource Centers (NACK, SCME, NEATEC, and MatEdU). 

A few examples to explain the current uses and opportunities in the Micro- and Nanotechnology industries:

        • Components in electronic devices such as computers, cell phones, wearable activity monitors, and medical sensors. 
        • Materials science aspects of micro and nano are making tennis balls that last longer, cloth that repels water, and bandages that prevent bacterial growth. 

The Technician Education in Additive Manufacturing & Materials (TEAMM) project, in connection with MatEdU, operates AM News to explore news for technicians. It also addresses a critical gap in supporting technician education initiatives, such as the MNT-EC, among others. It also looks to keep institutions and students up to date with ASTM International (formerly known as American Society for Testing and Materials) for skills standards that keep pace with advances in research and development. This new award to Pasadena City College is a powerful example of NSF’s commitment to making sure technicians are ready for whatever situation or crisis arises in the United States.

A highly skilled technical workforce is needed to keep pace with the demands of and the changes in micro- and nanotechnology industries. Here are a few Microtechnology and Nanotechnology technician jobs that students are researching: 

        • Nanotechnology Engineering Technicians    
        • Computer and Information Research Scientists
        • Electronics Technicians
        • Materials Engineers
        • Biochemical Engineers 
        • Microsystems Engineers 
        • Materials Scientists 

For more details, you can read the full Abstract on the NSF site: The Micro Nano Technology Education Center (MNT-EC) Award details.

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