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Development Of A Industry Driven Associate Degree In Precision Manufacturing Technology

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Manufacturing Education Curriculum I

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

12.508.1 - 12.508.6



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Paper Authors

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Robert Walters Pennsylvania State University

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Prasad Marugabandhu MAGLEV, Inc.

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Bryan Bond MAGLEV, Inc.

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Abstract This paper describes the development of a unique educational program that addresses an industry need for workers trained in precision manufacturing techniques. Penn State University, Community College of Allegheny County, and MAGLEV, Inc. have partnered to develop a unique associate degree in Precision Manufacturing Technology (PMT). During their first three semesters, students will build expertise in foundational classes such as physics, statistics, algebra, and dynamics, which they take at the Community College of Allegheny County. In the final, fourth semester, students will enroll at Penn State and complete the requirements for their associate degree with specialized hands-on training at the state of the art MAGLEV Precision Fabrication Center in McKeesport. Penn State and MAGLEV have partnered to develop six courses in Advanced Laser Radar Metrology, Weld Distortion Control and Cutting Technology and Advanced Weld Robotics. These courses are taught by MAGLEV engineers under the direction and monitoring of Penn State faculty. After these courses are completed, the 18 credits are transferred to CCAC where the students are awarded an associate degree in Precision Manufacturing Technology. A second program has been developed for students majoring in engineering at Penn State. This is a certificate program designed for students who wish to supplement their major field of study with knowledge of precision manufacturing techniques, leadership concepts, management principles and practices. The certificate consists of twelve total credits, including three internship courses taught at MAGLEV.

Background The fabrication industry in the United States is facing a twofold problem - antiquated processes that cannot compete in the global market, and a shrinking workforce. High school students are not considering fabrication a viable career option because it is seen as a dying technology. Some 64 million baby boomers are poised to retire in large numbers by the end of this decade. This group accounts for over 40 percent of the U.S. labor force. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that by 2010, the number of unfilled skilled worker posts will reach 5.3 million, increasing to 14 million by 2015. Rapidly advancing technology will heavily influence the trends shaping the workplace of the future. All studies that look to the education and skills needs of today’s workers conclude that employers require more education and more technical skills from their employees. In today’s economy, skill development and education must be a life long process as new technologies and innovations demand ever changing skill sets. As plants introduce new manufacturing processes, information technologies, and equipment in order to stay competitive, employee development has become even more critical. In addition, universities cannot afford the high cost of specialized and advanced manufacturing equipment.

Southwestern Pennsylvania is one of the finalists for a major Federal Railroad Administration project to construct the nation’s first magnetic levitation ground transportation system (maglev). The 54-mile system proposed by the Pennsylvania Project links Pittsburgh International Airport to downtown Pittsburgh, Monroeville, and Greensburg. This project provides an opportunity to evaluate the feasibility of deploying a high-speed maglev ground transportation infrastructure across

Walters, R., & Marugabandhu, P., & Bond, B. (2007, June), Development Of A Industry Driven Associate Degree In Precision Manufacturing Technology Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2162

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