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Are We Teaching What They Want? A Comparative Study of What AM Employers Want versus What AM Frameworks Require

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

October 19, 2019

Conference Session

College-Industry Partnerships Division Technical Session 2

Tagged Division

College Industry Partnerships

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Paper Authors


Faye R. Jones Florida State University Orcid 16x16

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Faye R. Jones is a Senior Research Associate at Florida State University’s College of Communication & Information. Her research interests include STEM student outcomes and the exploration of student pathways through institutional research.

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Marcia A. Mardis Florida A&M University/Florida State University Orcid 16x16

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Marcia A. Mardis is a Professor and Associate Dean at Florida State University's College of Communication & Information and Associate Director of the Information Institute. Author of numerous publication and recipient of over two decades of federally funded research grants, Dr. Mardis' work focuses on professional identity creation, educational text and data mining, and technician education improvement.

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Divya Pahuja Florida State University

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Divya Pahuja is a graduate research assistant at the School of Information at Florida State University. Her research interests include the use of text mining techniques and data analytics to explore gaps in educational pathways and healthcare industries.

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In this research paper, we compare Florida’s AM employer demands and academic requirements to state mandated AM curriculum guidelines. Florida is an AM leader, producing intermediate and finished products ranging from plastics to tortillas to motor vehicles. In total, Florida is home to over 20,000 AM companies employing over 320,000 workers. Florida is also geographically diverse, being simultaneously one of the most urban and one of the most rural highly populous states in the country. To characterize Florida’s AM employment needs, we analyzed 108 job postings from Florida employers who were seeking manufacturing and engineering technicians through publicly available job postings. Text mining was used to extract key knowledge areas (or topics) and verbs in these documents that AM employers identified in job postings and desired from their entry-level employees. We compared those topics and verbs to the ones found in the Florida Department of Education’s (FLDoE) AM curriculum framework for two-year programs. We found varying levels of alignment, and, in some instances, misalignment, between employers’ desired topics and competency levels and those found in FLDoE Frameworks. Our findings not only highlight the importance of industry-education partnerships to tailor preparation to employer needs, but also suggest that a deeper exploration and analysis of AM jobs is needed to further determine alignment to FLDoE frameworks. We conclude that the FLDoE framework may be used as a foundation, but not the sole source, for important AM knowledge areas, leaving opportunity for the development of an AM body of knowledge that reflects employer expectations and geographic variations.

Jones, F. R., & Mardis, M. A., & Pahuja, D. (2019, June), Are We Teaching What They Want? A Comparative Study of What AM Employers Want versus What AM Frameworks Require Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32104

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