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Board 228: Building Partnerships for Advanced Manufacturing Programs

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2023 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Baltimore , Maryland

Publication Date

June 25, 2023

Start Date

June 25, 2023

End Date

June 28, 2023

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

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Karen Wosczyna-Birch National Center for Next Generation Manufacturing

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Dr. Karen Wosczyna-Birch has been a champion of engineering and technology education for over 30 years. Since 1995, she has been the state director of the CT College of Technology (COT) where her leadership has been instrumental in creating nationally recognized seamless pathway programs in engineering and technology between all 12 public community colleges in CT with 10 universities and technical and comprehensive high schools. She is also the Executive Director and Principal Investigator of the National Center for Next Generation Manufacturing (NCNGM), a National Science Foundation (NSF) Center of Excellence and a Professor of Applied Technology at Tunxis Community College. She has received over $30M in funding from the NSF, including two grants for international partnerships. Karen has implemented strategies resulting in an increase in the enrollment of underrepresented populations in STEM programs at the community colleges.

Karen has received numerous awards for her accomplishments as a professor and for her passion for increasing the diversity of the STEM population including the 2016 Distinguished Service Award from the international honor society Epsilon Pi Tau (EPT), the 2018 CT Women of Innovation Award in the Postsecondary Academic Innovation & Leadership Category, the 2012 New England Board of Higher Education Excellence Award for the State of CT and most recently, the 2020 HI TEC Innovative Program of the Year Award and the 2021 ITEEA Special Recognition Award. In 2014, she was invited to the White House College Opportunity Summit recognizing leaders like Karen for their commitment to STEM education. She also serves on numerous local and national boards including the Epsilon Pi Tau Honor Society, Hartford High's Pathway for Engineering and Green Technology, and the Connecticut Technical Education and Career System.

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The mission of the National Center for Next Generation Manufacturing (NCNGM), funded by the National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education (NSF ATE) Program, is to cultivate and nurture partnerships with advanced manufacturing stakeholders, creating a national network throughout the United States to further develop a diverse technical workforce. NCNGM partners include collaborators from education, industry, government, and private and public organizations. Each member of the NCNGM’s leadership team is experienced in developing and maintaining a program for their specific advanced manufacturing discipline and provides expertise in partnerships providing benefits to both the program and the partner. Examples of the benefits include scholarships, instructor recruitment, work and learn programs, and national dissemination. The NCNGM has developed resources and best practices for fostering partnerships for community college advanced manufacturing programs, including unexpected collaborators.

According to a study by Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute, “Over the next decade, 4 million manufacturing jobs will likely be needed, and 2.1 million are expected to go unfilled if we do not inspire more people to pursue modern manufacturing careers.” The NCNGM and its partners are working together to address the nation’s need for a pipeline of students equipped with the skills to pursue careers in advanced manufacturing with an emphasis on Industry 4.0 technologies. Building the pipeline requires many components that partnerships can help provide. This paper will provide best practices for developing and maintaining partnerships with various organizations at local, statewide, and national levels that have helped programs grow and overcome challenges to educate a diverse advanced manufacturing education workforce.

Wosczyna-Birch, K. (2023, June), Board 228: Building Partnerships for Advanced Manufacturing Programs Paper presented at 2023 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Baltimore , Maryland. 10.18260/1-2--42665

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