Volume 22, No. 3, 3rd Quarter, 2021
From the Director ...

Craig McAtee, NCATC CEO and Executive Director
NCATC Friends and Colleagues,

It’s been over 18 months since I have seen you in person. You are missed!

The world of virtual platforms like Zoom and Teams has been a lifeline to all of us throughout the pandemic. Like you, we are using these tools to make positive things happen within the NCATC network across the country.

We are committed to leveraging the moment and collaborating on even bigger, more positive changes in the education and workforce development ecosystem. In this issue we reference organizations that are helping us all with solid data; best practice models; and more inclusive future-of-work goals, ideas, and challenges.

Millions of Americans without college degrees emerged from the Great Recession in insecure, low-wage jobs that lacked benefits like paid leave—and then COVID-19 made matters much worse.

People in tenuous, low-quality jobs were hard hit by layoffs caused by the pandemic—especially women and people of color. Meanwhile, employers were forced to embrace digitalization (McKinsey) to survive in the quarantine era, and many accelerated their use of automation (LA Times). Both trends are requiring new skills of workers to keep their jobs or obtain new ones.

For millions of students from lower-income backgrounds, the transition to college or the workforce from high school is a difficult, sometimes insurmountable, climb. That transition can look like a steep cliff when the support and structure of high school end, revealing a gap students must somehow cross alone.

At a time when more than 4.6 million young Americans (Aspen Institute) between the ages of 16 and 24 aren’t working or in school, it’s time to rethink whether the traditional boundaries between high school, college, and workforce are serving this new generation of learners. Students today should have many pathways from education into careers—and the educational experiences that shape workforce success must begin long before high school graduation.

Some of these illogical boundaries have already started to blur. In 2010, 15 percent of community college applicants (1.4 million students) were still in high school, thanks to the growing popularity of dual-enrollment programs. In some states, the share was as high as 37 percent. And since then, many states have sought to grow dual enrollment. More than 7100 Texas high school students earned associate degrees in the 2018-2019 academic year, and many of those credentials included industry certifications.

It’s time to radically restructure grades 11 through 14—the last two years of high school and the first two years of college. Our systems for transitioning students from high school to college and on to careers don’t work for most young people because there’s an intractable disconnect between high school, higher education, and the workforce in this country.

One of NCATC’s favorite think tanks and workforce policy experts is Jobs for the Future (JFF). We fully support their recently proposed solution to this problem: “Let’s erase the arbitrary dividing line between high school, college, and career preparation.”

JFF is calling this the “Big Blur.” It’s a proposal for fulfilling our vision of a new model and new systems that serve 16-to-20-year-olds better than the fragmented mix we have now.

The reimagined ecosystem would feature new structures that aren’t high schools or community colleges, but entirely new configurations of interconnected training, education, and work-based learning programs that prepare participants to enter rewarding careers and pursue further postsecondary education.

It would all be free of charge, and the learning would be aligned to labor market demands, with the academic instruction and the work-based learning programs leading to postsecondary credentials with labor market value and transferable credit.

Demand for shorter, more affordable non-degree education and training continues to grow (Inside Higher Ed), as does the supply of programs (Credential Engine). But many low-quality short-term programs (New America) lead to unemployment, underemployment, or poverty wages even in skilled occupations.

Community colleges are the nation’s true economic mobility engine. By expanding access to high-quality non-degree workforce programs, they can increase students’ career potential while meeting employers’ and the nation’s economic and equity needs.

We encourage all NCATC members to support passage of the Short-Term Pell funding in the JOBS Act for much greater effectiveness in CTE and WFD programs consisting of 150-600 contact hours of instruction and training.

NCATC continues to be part of the Manufacturing Industry Recovery Panel, which will help shape the Biden Administration’s Made in All of America initiative and related policies through meetings with the U.S. Department of Commerce and Congressional leadership. A few of the policy recommendations will focus on ways to support diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) for effective training and support. These will include:

  • Continued expansion of apprenticeships and other work-based learning,
  • Investment in digital upskilling to support advances in high-tech manufacturing,
  • Support for more agile postsecondary education for a more agile manufacturing workplace,
  • Creation of a 21st Century Extension Partnership to align workforce and economic development strategies, and
  • Establishment of a White House Interagency Sub Taskforce on Skills for an Inclusive Economic Recovery.

Consistent with NSC’s Inclusive Economic Recovery framework, NCATC wants to help ensure that these initiatives address:

  • The disproportionate impact of the economic crisis on workers of color, immigrants, and workers with a high school diploma or less;
  • The essential role of businesses that hire locally and invest in their people but need policymakers to be their partners; and
  • The moral and economic imperative to dismantle structural racism within workforce education and training.

We are aware that skills training alone will not ensure an inclusive recovery, but it must be part of our nation’s federal policy response. The time is now to get much more actively involved in federal, state, and local policies that will set priorities and funding for the future of work.

Our 2021 Webinar Series has focused on DEI, Industry 4.0, and CTE/WDF policies in partnership with ACTE, NSC, CompTIA, NOCTI, NTMA, and others. You can find the webinar recordings on the NCATC Website here.

As always, we encourage you to stay regularly connected and up to date on all ATC and CTE-related activities and guidance via the weekly updated NCATC website, social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.), and quarterly e-newsletters like this one.
NCATC’s CEO & Executive Director Joins Coalition for Career Development Center's Advisory Council
NCATC is delighted to announce that Craig McAtee is now a part of the Coalition for Career Development (CCD) Center’s Advisory Council. The CCD Center is an industry-led nonpartisan coalition committed to making career readiness the first priority of American education and dedicated to transforming career development through priorities including education reform, research initiatives, and stakeholder engagement.

Background on the CCD Center
Because of growing interest in career readiness, an ad hoc “Coalition for Career Readiness” was established following a highly successful meeting at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in February 2016. The coalition subsequently held two summits in downtown Washington DC and released a white paper titled “Career Readiness for All.” The coalition also held productive meetings with members of Congress, including a briefing at the Visitors Center on Capitol Hill. During that period, references to career services in state and federal programs, Congressional legislation, and foundation giving have become more frequent.

This experience suggested that the coalition was making solid progress toward its original goal of building a national consensus around the vision of making career readiness for all the first priority of American education, so that all students and learners could secure productive employment in their chosen career pathways as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible.

The coalition founders agreed that the most effective strategy for building on this promising start would be to move beyond the original ad hoc coalition and create a formal institution, the Coalition for Career Development Center, a non-partisan, industry-led 501(c)(3) think tank. This approach would enable the organization to accelerate evidence-based research, identify scalable models, examine implications for both state and federal policies, and convene the “best and brightest” minds in the U.S. around career readiness.

A very impressive and experienced group of individuals serve on the CCD Center's Board of Directors. The board chose Jan Bray as CEO of the CCD Center because of her extensive experience as twelve-year head of the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), her deep network of contacts at both state and federal levels, and her ability to collaborate.

A major step for the CCD Center is the creation of an Advisory Council that can provide ongoing input, strategic guidance, and support for the work of the Center. Because of the work NCATC has been doing in career readiness and workforce development, the CCD Center is pleased to add NCATC's President and CEO, Craig McAtee, to the Advisory Council.

CCD Center Advisory Council members participate in the following ways:

  • Identify potential CCD Center programs/activities.
  • Communicate the value and activities of the CCD Center to constituents via websites, outreach vehicles, and conference sessions.
  • Provide support for CCD Center advocacy initiatives.
  • Support national and regional convenings through attendance and identification of speakers and sponsors.
  • Commit to support the CCD Vision, Mission, and Goals statement and share information about CCD Center activities within their respective organizations. Financial contributions are welcome, but not required.

Thanks to Chair Leo Reddy for providing background information on the CCD Center.
CCD Center on the web and social media
In This Issue

  • NSF Grant Supports Creation of National Center for Next Generation Manufacturing at Tunxis Community College
  • Rowan-Cabarrus Community College ATC Launches Okuma Machine Tool Academy and RJG Plastic Injection Molding Training Center
  • Shift Your Community’s Paradigm at the Education with Purpose: Call to Action Event
  • Edge Factor Rock MFG Day
  • Ready, Set, Solar Decathlon!
  • ARM Institute Endorses First Three Education Programs
  • LMI Webinar Announcement
NSF Grant Supports Creation of National Center for Next Generation Manufacturing at Tunxis Community College
The Connecticut College of Technology, administered by Tunxis Community College, has received a $7.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Advanced Technological Education Program to lead the nation’s only NSF National Center for Next Generation Manufacturing (NCNGM). In partnership with leadership teams from Columbus State Community College in Ohio, College of the Canyons in California, Central Community College in Nebraska, and Indian River State College in Florida, as well as collaborators from education, industry, government, and private and public organizations from throughout the United States, the center will address the national need for a pipeline of students pursuing careers in advanced manufacturing. The center’s work will focus on community colleges and include pathways starting in high schools. The NCNGM’s teams of technology experts will address Industry 4.0 in next-generation manufacturing subsectors such as design, fabrication, processing, supply chain, logistics, and quality control.

Successful strategies for recruiting and retaining students from underrepresented communities for the next generation manufacturing workforce will be identified and disseminated across the nation. Initiatives will include educational models and professional development for high school and higher education faculty and the creation of an online repository of resources that can be used for building seamless, stackable credential career pathways in advanced manufacturing. These models will address workforce needs through industry credentials, microcredentials, digital badging, and certificates that prepare students for immediate employment. Center activities will support innovation and will help to educate the 21st-century advanced manufacturing workforce needed for U.S. companies to be globally competitive.
Rowan-Cabarrus Community College ATC Launches Okuma Machine Tool Academy and RJG Plastic Injection Molding Training Center
Two significant corporate partnerships were announced recently at the Rowan-Cabarrus Community College Advanced Technology Center. The partnerships will serve local, national, and international customers in the areas of machine tool technology and plastic injection molding.

Okuma America, a world-leading builder of CNC machine tools, controls, and automation systems, announced that the Rowan-Cabarrus Advanced Technology Center will be the site of the Okuma Machine Tool Academy. The academy will serve the training needs of customers, distributors, and employees in areas including programming and operations, electrical maintenance, and mechanical maintenance. The center will house state-of-the-art Okuma machine tools and simulators and will serve customers from North America, Central America, and South America. 
RJG Plastics also has partnered with Rowan-Cabarrus to house their Plastic Injection Molding Training Center. Based in Traverse City, Michigan, RJG is an international leader in injection molding training, consulting, and technology.

Rowan-Cabarrus will join RJG sites in the UK, France, Germany, and Mexico in offering hands-on courses in part design, mold design, Smartflow® Scientific Cooling, and design for manufacture and assembly. RJG’s training has won the Pike’s Peak Award for excellence in training design and quality. RJG will locate seven plastic injection molding machines from a variety of manufacturers into a dedicated lab and classroom to serve students and industry.

Identified by NCATC’s MAP process, the areas of advanced machine tooling and advanced materials led Rowan-Cabarrus to seek out partners to join the center’s unique mix of programming and expertise. “The MAP process informed our conversations with architects in designing a multi-purpose facility that will flex to meet industry’s emerging needs, both locally and nationally,” said Dr. Carol Spalding, President of Rowan-Cabarrus.

“The MAP process also targeted several key areas for future growth and development in support of significant industry trends, which led us to focus our efforts on locating RJG and Okuma at our center,” said Craig Lamb, Vice President for Corporate and Continuing Education at Rowan-Cabarrus. “In addition to serving our industrial customers, these commitments represent an economic and tourism boost to downtown Kannapolis and the North Carolina Research Campus.” The projects are anticipated to generate over 5,000 hotel room nights per year and off-campus spending as students stay for one to two weeks for training.

The RJG and Okuma projects are expected to start in October 2021 with live, face-to-face instruction, and will complement five engineering programs, cyber-physical security, industrial automation, additive manufacturing, and mechatronics programs already in place.
Opening its doors in 1963, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College is one of 58 colleges in the state-supported North Carolina Community College System. Rowan-Cabarrus is a comprehensive, community-focused institution of higher learning, serving the residents of Rowan and Cabarrus Counties at multiple campus locations and through online programs. Rowan-Cabarrus offers fully accredited associate degree programs in more than thirty areas of study, including arts and sciences, business, information technology, health and public services, engineering technologies, and biotechnology, as well as dozens of diplomas and certifications. Rowan-Cabarrus provides more than 2,000 course offerings, serving a yearly overall enrollment of more than 25,000 students. In addition, Rowan-Cabarrus provides the education and job-training programs needed to meet many of the workforce demands of the North Carolina Research Campus being developed in Kannapolis.
Shift Your Community’s Paradigm at the Education with Purpose: Call to Action

Livestream Experience
October 21, 2021 | 2pm EST
To thrive in a rapidly changing world, young people need a dynamic, competitive advantage in their education and career journey. Discover how to deliver this advantage at the 2021 Education with Purpose: Call to Action livestream experience. Together we can shift the paradigm in education, workforce, and economic development—and make students career ready, period.

At the Call to Action, you will:
  • Discover how to support the younger generations in developing the dynamic, competitive advantage to adapt in a rapidly changing world
  • Find out how the national skills gap begins with the “awareness gap” and how we can bridge it
  • Help young people see for themselves that education is their solution to achieving their lifestyle and career aspirations, based on their own unique interests, talents, and abilities
  • Empower your community and stakeholders to come together to accomplish a shared vision of purpose-driven education and economic vitality
  • And much more!

The Call to Action will be delivered by international speaker and performance expert Mark C. Perna. Mark, who serves on the Advisory Council for the Coalition for Career Development in Washington, DC, is the author of the award-winning bestseller Answering Why: Unleashing Passion, Purpose, and Performance in Younger Generations. Mark has a weekly column on Forbes.com, hosts the weekday micro-podcast The Perna Syndicate, and delivers more than 70 keynote speeches annually. He has also spoken at Harvard University by special invitation. In all of this, his vision is to empower educators and employers to bridge generational divides and unleash the tremendous potential of today’s young people.

Register at EWPAction.com today!

Registration must be done individually to receive the full complement of pre-event email briefings that will set the stage for maximum impact on October 21. 
Edge Factor Rock MFG Day
One of our favorite times of the year is just around the corner. The official Manufacturing Day is booked for Friday, October 1, 2021. It’s a day when schools, companies, workforce development leaders, and families across North America come together to celebrate the incredible careers and technology in the world of advanced manufacturing. The goal is to inspire the next generation of manufacturers by providing live and virtual tours of manufacturing companies and showcasing the career opportunities in this fast-paced industry. 
Since 2015, Edge Factor has empowered 5500+ Rock MFG Day event hosts with turnkey tools and high-impact resources to engage live and virtual audiences. This year is no different. The team at Edge Factor is launching the 2021 Rock MFG Day Kit to equip companies, associations, workforce development leaders, manufacturing training programs, and schools with multimedia tools to complement and enhance their MFG Day events.

Edge Factor has created thousands of cinematic stories, videos, lesson plans, interactive activities, planning guides, Virtual Reality experiences, toolkits, and more that are used in classrooms and homes and at events to help students and job-seekers discover careers and prepare to enter the workforce. The online Rock MFG Day Kit tools will showcase engaging e-learning media and real-life stories of manufacturers pushing back the edge of what’s possible. This collection of high-impact media will inspire students and job-seekers to pursue manufacturing careers and learn what a “day in the life” looks like in specific manufacturing roles.

The 2021 Rock MFG Day Kit will be available for free for everyone to watch, enjoy, and share the media from September 1, 2021, to October 31, 2021. The toolkit will include:

  • An inspiring 15-20 minute keynote presentation by Jeremy Bout, founder of Edge Factor and formerly a 5 Axis programmer
  • “5 Days of STEAM” media including award-winning films, career profiles, walk and talk field trips/tours of manufacturing companies called Virtual Workplace Experiences; short videos that highlight how science, technology, engineering, art, and math topics are used in manufacturing; and soft skills videos
  • “How To” planning guides with step-by-step instructions on why and how to host an engaging event, and how to invite schools and companies to present on careers and training opportunities available in your community
  • Promotional tools to share the Rock MFG Day Kit with your network and community
We understand that hosting an event is not easy! Planning and promoting your upcoming event, hosting a high-impact stage or keynote presentation, taking students on a tour, and trying to plan the logistics... It can become a bit overwhelming, especially for manufacturers who are not typically involved with event planning. That’s why we’ve created the FREE Rock MFG Day Kit and included everything you need to plan, promote, host, and follow up on your virtual or live MFG Day event. It’s plug and play, which means you can use parts or all of the toolkit on each of the days, or all of the days. To register for the Rock MFG Day toolkit, go here.

The following industry and education leaders have partnered with Edge Factor to make the Rock MFG Day Kit freely available: ABB, California Arts, Media & Entertainment, NTMA/ AMPED, Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME), Mastercam, myBlueprint, National Coalition of Advanced Technology Centers (NCATC), National Institute of Metalworking Skills (NIMS), Precision Manufacturing Association (PMA), SME Education Foundation, and Women in Manufacturing. These leaders are committed to helping manufacturing companies, schools, and workforce leaders with tangible, easy to use and share tools to host an awesome live or virtual MFG Day event and recruit the next generation of innovators and manufacturers.

Questions? Feedback? Contact Edge Factor!
Ready, Set, Solar Decathlon!
Join teams around the world and compete to design high-performance buildings with innovative solutions!

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon®, a collegiate competition comprising 10 contests, challenges student teams to design and build highly efficient, innovative, low-carbon buildings powered by renewable energy.
For the upcoming competitions, teams can choose:

  • Design Challenge: Create or retrofit residential or commercial building designs.

  • Build Challenge: Design and construct fully functional houses or retrofit existing building stock.
ARM Institute Endorses First Three Education Programs
Earlier this year, ARM Institute announced the endorsement of its first three education programs. The ARM Endorsement Program is a thorough process used to identify the best of the best – organizations that offer education that meets or exceeds advanced manufacturing job requirements. Your program could be next!

The three endorsed programs are:

The ARM Institute Endorsement program is unique in that it was conceptualized and created through its 300-member national consortium, giving equal voice to manufacturers, education providers, and government. The program draws upon a competency and skills framework that supports a manufacturing robotics career pathway, exclusively developed and validated by the ARM Institute national consortium. Read the full press release here or learn more about applying for endorsement here
LMI Webinar Announcement
NCATC and the Workforce Institute, Inc. are partnering to offer a professional development webinar in January 2022 (look for more details in Q4-21) that will help leaders to routinely use strategic intelligence to drive workforce development planning and actions. Leaders setting policy and those who design and deliver new approaches and programs will gain better and up-to-date insights regarding labor market dynamics and the future of work.
Participants will learn how strategic intelligence can be used to transform education and talent development systems facing accelerating change while ensuring economic advancement and meeting rapidly changing workforce needs. The program will provide insights into new ways of researching labor market dynamics including:

  • Determining which skills and entry-level jobs are in short supply and creating a skills gap.
  • Realizing that skill gaps are about skills, not jobs per se.
  • Requiring a skills gap analysis using strategic information about demand and supply of qualified applicants that differentiates between entry-level and experience demanded by employers.
  • Agreement between employers, educators, workforce systems, etc., on priority gaps and actionable steps to address them, based on hard data. The analytics produced through these processes should inform decisions.
  • Skill gaps vary by economic region(s), as do solutions.
  • Insights based on hard data need to drive decisions around program development and curricular design, modes of delivery, partnership with employers, and the feasibility of implementing new programs.

Dr. James Shanahan from Shanahan Resources Inc. and Robert Visdos, the president and founder of the Workforce Institute Inc., will present the webinar.
Welcome, New Strategic Partners and Members
New Strategic Partners (since January 1, 2021)
New Education Members (since January 1, 2021)
New CTE High School Membership Initiative