NSF Helps Two-Year Colleges Train Tomorrow's Technicians
In 1995, the Department of Labor predicted that
80 percent of the nation's new jobs in upcoming years would require more
than a high school diploma but less than a four-year degree. Clearly,
two-year colleges have a place in the future.
At Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio, the future lies in high-tech
manufacturing, according to David Harrison, manager of an NSF Advanced
Technology Education (ATE) grant. He is working to develop a two-year
degree program that includes physics, chemistry, math and computer programming. "We
want to break down some of the myths," Harrison says, "and show that manufacturing
is in fact a high-tech career choice."
As one of the first programs to address the educational needs of science
and engineering technicians specifically, NSF's ATE program also sponsors
two-year programs in aerospace technology, biotechnology, computer technology,
electronics, geographical information systems and physics.
ATE started as part of the 1992 Scientific and Advanced Technology Act.
Congress was concerned that U.S. industry would lose its competitive edge
without highly trained technicians; NSF was charged with creating an educational
program to address the needs of science and engineering technicians.
The primary focus is on two-year college students, but most ATE programs
go beyond that. They create teacher development programs, support curriculum
development, and cooperate with four-year colleges and universities in