National Coalition of Advanced Technology Centers Offers Apprenticeship Webinar

Hiring technicians with the skills required to work in additive manufacturing continues to be a serious challenge for most companies. Thanks to an innovative new registered apprenticeship program for additive manufacturing technicians, manufacturers have a way to develop and enhance their workforce.

In a free webinar on Thursday, May 2, 2019, TEAMM Network member, the National Coalition of Advanced Technology Centers (NCATC), will present details about an upcoming, new apprenticeship training program for 3D Printing Technicians as well as other occupational trade apprentice program opportunities.

You can register for the virtual event at the America Makes and RCBI Apprenticeship Works signup page. It begins at 8am Pacific/11am Eastern.

Apprenticeship-Works RCBI
Apprenticeship-Works RCBI

The “Developing Additive Manufacturing Talent through the Apprenticeship Model” webinar will explore:

    • An overview and information on the additive manufacturing/3D printing technician apprenticeship program
    • How an apprenticeship program can improve your recruitment, retention, and succession planning efforts
    • How apprenticeship increases your company’s productivity and improves quality
    • Features of the new AM technician apprenticeship
    • Benefits to partnering with the Apprenticeship Works program at RCBI

Apprenticeship Works — the National Advanced Manufacturing Apprenticeship Partnership at the Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI) — makes apprenticeships more accessible and affordable for employers, helping reduce skills gaps. This national effort is funded by a $4.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor that expands RCBI’s proven apprenticeship model.

According to the website: “Through Apprenticeship Works, RCBI and its team of national partners help companies develop and implement customized, world-class training that combines hands-on, work-based learning with related classroom and online instruction using the highest industry standards, ideal for small, medium and large multi-site operations.”

RCBI is looking for additional partners nationwide to expand apprenticeship opportunities in advanced manufacturing. A primary focus includes innovative pre-apprenticeship programs for women, transitioning military personnel and disadvantaged youth.

There are many occupations to choose from:

  • Additive Manufacturing/3D Printing Technician (example outline)
  • Tool and Die Maker
  • Industrial Maintenance Technician
  • Welding Technician
  • Engineering Assistant
  • Assembly Technician
  • CNC Operator and Programmer
  • Electrician
  • Industrial Manufacturing Production Technician
  • Die Setter
  • Machinist
  • Press Operator
  • Quality Control Technician
  • Robotics Technician
  • Composites Technician
  • Airframe Mechanic
  • Press Brake Operator

This RCBI programs exists thanks to cooperation with the US Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship, under the American Apprenticeship Initiative grant funding. Employers interested in participating in the Group Standards of Apprenticeship and utilizing the related outlines may contact Lucinda Curry at lcurry@rcbi.org or 304.720.7742 (All OJT and related training may be customized to meet employer needs.) This program is available nationwide.

The Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing (RCBI), part of Marshall University in West Virginia, encourages job creation, economic development, innovation and entrepreneurship by supporting manufacturing companies of all sizes. RCBI and America Makes, along with other national partners, collaborated on the first nationally recognized apprenticeship for additive manufacturing technicians, launched in fall 2018.

In addition, RCBI offers Additive Manufacturing (AM) technology with 3D Printers through its Design Works labs and is a national Center of Excellence for composite materials providing support to NASA engineers as well as first-tier Department of Defense suppliers in West Virginia.

TEAMM Network Principal Investigator Mel Cossette Reports On Materials Education

According to Forbes and the Wohlers Report 2019, the additive manufacturing forecast for 2020 is $15.8 billion for all AM products and services worldwide. The company expects that revenue forecast to climb to $23.9 billion in 2022, and $35.6 billion in 2024.

Mel Cossette at Edmonds Workshop

This year the report is at 369 pages. Wohlers Report 2019 draws upon expertise of 80 authors and contributors located in 32 countries. Wohlers Associates also received input from 127 service providers, 71 manufacturers of industrial systems, and 30 producers of desktop 3D printers and third-party materials around the world. It is filled with insights and data, such as,

  • Benefits and challenges of designing for AM
  • The overall materials segment of the industry saw record growth in 2018. A great deal of research and development was carried out in this area in 2018, particularly on high-performance thermoplastics.

Among the important trends, particularly relevant to the Technician Education in Additive Manufacturing & Materials (TEAMM), are knowledge and skills development, and materials development, as well as industry standards. In addition to these AM trends, among the 80 authors in the report, the TEAMM Network’s Principal Investigator, Mel Cossette, contributed a section within Part 7: Research and Development of the Wohlers Report 2019.

Ms. Cossette provided an overview of the TEAMM project summarizing some of its work over the last year, including:

      • “The role of materials development in advancing AM process capabilities is vital. With newly developed materials available for 3D printing, it is important for AM technicians to understand the properties they can provide.”
      • Highlights of TEAMM’s work with the AM News blog on the 4TEAMM.org website.
      • The TEAMM Network facilitates the delivery of annual workshops and presentations focused on AM and materials.
      • TEAMM and Tennessee Tech collaborated with Purdue University to develop and present a virtual reality curriculum using VR as a tool to teach AM.

Edmonds VR Workshop

With the AM industry on a radical growth curve, heading toward a big jump in overall revenue of $15.8 billion for all AM products and services worldwide in 2020, TEAMM and its Network partners are in a good place for serving the needs of AM and Materials Science technicians.

NOTE: Wohlers Associates is also a TEAMM Network member.

Intelitek Is Making A Difference In AM And Technician Education

AM News is highlighting different Network members to show how they are making a difference in additive manufacturing and technician education. TEAMM Network member, Intelitek, is making a difference in increasing and improving robotics and STEM curricula around the USA and the world.

Intelitek provides educational institutions with interactive technological learning environments.

According to their website, their innovative and award-winning educational initiatives have “helped students from middle and high schools to post-secondary institutions gain crucial career building skills that will ensure their future employability.” Their programs have been taught in in over 50 countries, educating students in over 26,000 schools, labs and institutes, and teaching over 500 different training topics. In the short YouTube video below, you can get a quick overview.

For example, they provide project-based learning curricula to many of the community colleges in states that have dual enrollment programs. Dual enrollment is when high school students can enroll in a nearby community college earning their Associates degree at the same time they complete their high school requirements. Here in Washington State, where the TEAMM Network is based, our program is called Running Start.

In New York State, Intelitek helps the Adirondack Community College / High School program known as BOCES, offer a project-based learning program that features hands-on activities with industrial-level manufacturing equipment. Students can access online curriculum that is integrated with projects that use classroom hardware for topics like CAD, precision measurement, mechanical systems and electrical systems.

The BOCES program also helps students prepare for the well known MSSC certification exams, such as the Certified Production Technician (CPT) and representatives from the program expressed that the Intelitek courses help students get ready for them.

Intelitek has been transforming education and bringing robotics into classrooms across the globe through comprehensive technology learning solutions for more than 30 years. Their specialized focus on training systems for advanced manufacturing gives educators an advantage in their teaching. In addition to the core STEM offering, they have add-on modules for robotics, 3D printing, energy systems, and other manufacturing-oriented topics.

We are honored to have them as a member for the great work they are doing in producing results for students and teachers.

If you are interested to learn more about integrating STEM into your curriculum, download this 2019 white paper on How to Make STEM Part of the Mainstream Curriculum.

Demand Grows For 3D Printing Technician Education At Undergraduate And Graduate Levels

There is a worldwide emphasis and need to increase skills in additive manufacturing. One only need look around at the number of educational and for-profit ventures building out detailed degree programs and curricula to see it.

In the news last month, Wichita State University announced a new 3D Printing Technician Graduate Certificate program at WSU. It is exciting to see this higher level program in addition to the many we see in motion and developing at community college and 4-year college programs.

Dr. Ismail Fidan at TTU
Dr. Ismail Fidan at TTU

We talked to TEAMM Collaboration Network member, Dr. Ismail Fidan, who is a professor of Engineering at Tennessee Tech and associate author of the Wohlers Report, updating the annual academic R&D and education trends in AM around the world. Dr. Fidan shared that “There is no fully dedicated AM degree program at the public community college and university level within the ABET accreditation records. But there are several manufacturing degree programs. I personally believe that there will be some coming in the future.”

According to Dr. Fidan, there are several Master and certification programs on AM around the world. Some of the more recent ones are the Metal AM MS Program which will be offered by Cranfield University, UK. SME also came up with an AM certification program for the Community College level. (Links below.)

AM News profiled the Somerset Community College Offers 3D Printing Technician Certificate in mid-2018. Thanks to Tennessee Tech University (TTU) College of Engineering with its Golden Eagle Additively Innovative Lecture Series, an online webinar event that reaches people around the world. We learned about the Somerset certificate program through the webinar.

Wohlers Associates (publisher of the above-mentioned report), also a TEAMM member, created a unique Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM) course that has since been requested by other companies and organizations. Terry Wohlers writes about the Impact of DfAM here.

Additive manufacturing is growing and its future looks bright. If you know of other degree programs and courses aimed at helping technicians, engineers, and other manufacturing specialists increase their skills, please get in touch so we can add them to our growing list and potential upcoming posts.

Further reference:

  • More info on the Wichita State University 3D Printing Technician Graduate Certificate program.
  • ABET is a nonprofit, ISO 9001 certified organization that accredits college and university programs in applied and natural science, computing, engineering and engineering technology.
  • Cranfield University in Bedford, UK, has just received official approval to launch a new Master’s Degree in Metal Additive Manufacturing. Now accepting applications for October 2019 intake, this MSc will give students direct access to the university’s state-of-the-art Wire + Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM) systems, and the chance to work on projects for the WAAMMat consortium of 20 industrial partners.
  • SME: The Additive Manufacturing Technician Certification is ideal for a candidate with a two-year associates degree in additive manufacturing or currently enrolled in a college program, and/or has one or more years of working experience in a manufacturing related field. The prep course covers key roles and responsibilities for an AM technician, the AM process chain, design for AM, material and process selection, secondary processes, and key safety considerations. The certification exam is a three-hour proctored, open-book and open-note exam consisting of 120 multiple choice questions.

 

Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing & Technology (SiMT) Serves Entrepreneurs

In Florence, South Carolina, there is a strong emphasis on smart manufacturing. Based on the AM News post about how community colleges are innovating and incubating new ideas and companies (see end of post for link), it is clear that the Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing & Technology (SiMT), a division of Florence-Darlington Technical College (FDTC), also knows how to build up entrepreneurs.

On March 19th, the SiMT is hosting Entrepreneurship Day 2019 (register by March 17). According to a SiMT newsletter, participants will “Understand how to start and build a company by working with professional service providers. Speakers will be presenting in this exciting day-long event at the Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing and Technology. Resource partners and experienced entrepreneurs specializing in Intellectual Property, Trade Secrets, Employment, Economic Security, Social Media Marketing and Finance.”

The event is open to anyone who is currently in business or thinking about starting a new service or developing a product, as well as established businesses wanting to stay current in their industries.

In addition to the entrepreneurial focus, the Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing & Technology houses the most advanced additive manufacturing center and 3D virtual reality production studio in the region. It is comprised of six business units: Gould Business Incubator, Additive (aka 3D printing), Advanced Machining, Virtual Reality, The Listening Center, and Event Hosting and Conference center. The Institute’s staff engineers routinely work with FDTC to help conceive products, manufacture precision parts, and produce virtual training experiences for students and the community.

Florence-Darlington Technical College (FDTC) has 6,000 curriculum students and FDTC has 22 programs that have at least a 75 percent student job placement rate upon graduation in a field related to their major. Its campus started with 10 acres in 1963 and has expanded to nearly 240 acres with a modern complex of eight major buildings totaling nearly 350,000 square feet, including the SiMT which is less than two miles away.

If you are interested in how community colleges are helping students to consider an entrepreneurial venture as a career option, check out this post: Community Colleges Are Innovating and Incubating New Ideas And Companies. It includes links to a new book published with the support of the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE): Community Colleges as Incubators of Innovation: Unleashing Entrepreneurial Opportunities for Communities and Students by editors Rebecca Corbin, Ed.D. and Ron Thomas, Ph.D.