Volume 23, No. 2, 2nd Quarter, 2022
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From the Director

Craig McAtee, NCATC CEO and Executive Director

September 2022

NCATC Friends and Colleagues,

September is Workforce Development Month as labelled by the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals (NAWDP). Like NAWDP NCATC supports all things that amplify this highly important national dilemma. Workforce development is primarily about employers’ needs for knowledgeable, skilled workers. But it is also about sustainable career pathways for adult learners, access to work-based education and training for K-16 students, and economic growth for our communities, our states, and our nation.

Over the past three years, NCATC’s Board of Directors has developed and refined its Government Relations Committee. NCATC is a small but nimble non-profit organization, and we know that we cannot be experts in all levels and aspects of workforce development for advanced technologies and manufacturing. 

However, we do know how to purposefully partner with the "best of the best" organizations that do! Just look at our expanding list of corporate Strategic Partners and you will realize that we mean business when it comes to employer engagement for workforce development and education across America – and beyond.

The NCATC Government Relations Committee has formally partnered with several of the nation’s top workforce and education advocacy and policy organizations with the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) always in the lead. Others include the National Skills Coalition (NSC), the Association for Career & Technical Education (ACTE), Advance CTE, The Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT), the National Tooling & Machining Association (NTMA), the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA), and the Ohio Manufacturing Institute (OMI).

At this time, NCATC is focused on three (3) main policies for the education and workforce development improvements in our states and nation. They are:

  1. Digital Literacy & Skills for all levels – from Foundational to Industry 4.0,
  2. Pell Grant eligibility to workers in Short-Term postsecondary education, and
  3. Prioritize CTE / Workforce Development Educators: Creation and Improvement of Teacher / Faculty Recruitment, Retention, Accreditation, and Wage Scales.

We will continue our 2022 Strategic Partner and Government Relations Webinar Series focused on DEI, Industry 4.0, Work-Based Learning, and CTE/WDF Policies in the coming months. Plus, you can find all the past webinar recordings on the NCATC Website here.

We look forward to seeing many of you at the 2022 NCATC Annual Fall Conference in Concord / Kannapolis, NC, hosted by Rowan-Cabarrus Community College on September 21-23. This marks our return after a full three (3) years due to the pandemic measures of caution and we promise it will be worth the wait! Find all the information and registration links HERE  in case you are a last-minute attendee.

And, on September 29th NCATC will hold our Q3-22 - Quarterly Member Drop-In that will focus on one of the 4 Strategic Focus Areas or Pillars. Our third Member Drop-In will focus on NCATC Pillar 1: Future of Work: Industry 4.0 – Best Practices and Needs Discussion with Members. REGISTER HERE.

As always, we encourage you to stay regularly connected and up to date on all ATC, WFD, 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.

J. Craig McAtee, CEO & Executive Director


Our first face-to-face event – after the pandemic hiatus – since 2019

With input from many of our Members and Strategic Partners during the “pandemic pause” NCATC has reengineered many of the aspects of our in-person conference to be even more immersive than before. Key focus areas at the 2022 Fall Conference center around NCATC’s 4 Pillars:

  • Future of Work: Industry 4.0/x.0
  • Work-Based Learning / Apprenticeships
  • Competency-Based Education with Industry-Recognized Credentials
  • DEI and Adult Education

We look forward to seeing you there!
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Equity Machine Works
SPC / Speaker / Diversity in Manufacturing Proponent
Executive Director
Diversity & Inclusion Champion | Manufacturing Expert | Keynote Speaker & Presenter
Dean, Engineering, Manufacturing & Industrial Technologies
Macomb Community College
Director of Education
Haas Tower - Morris Group, Inc.
Vice President
Festo Didactic - North America
Agile Strategy Lab, University of North Alabama
Co-author, Strategic Doing: Ten Skills for Agile Leadership
President & CEO
Center for Occupational Research and Development
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Caterpillar Inc.
Department Chair | Advanced Manufacturing
Forsyth Technical College
Gold Sponsor ($5000)
Silver Sponsors ($2500)

Fresh from the first in-person NCATC Fall Conference in three years, September 21-23, 2022 – the Q3-22 Member Drop-In will focus on NCATC Strategic Pillar 1: Future of Work | Industry 4.0 for Workforce Development Programs – best practices and additional needs of our members.    

Our time together will be with four of NCATC Board Directors getting the conversation started by briefly highlighting each of their best practices articles in this newsletter.    

At a minimum, 40 minutes will be peer-to-peer, free flowing conversation of sharing, listening, learning, asking questions and building a stronger community around this focus area. 

Bring your “What I Have” and/or “What I Need” mindset to share.  The goal will be to sustain these problem-solving ideas, relationships built, and conversations beyond our 60-minutes together during our Member Drop-In


In This Issue

  • New Applied Bachelor’s Degree from Lorain County Community College
  • Bismarck State College Providing “Hacks” for Cyber Workforce Shortage
  • Bismarck State College: Manufacturing North Dakota’s Workforce with Polytechnic Education
  • College of the Canyons Aims for New Standard of Excellence
  • New Scale Robotics Deploys Six Q-Span Workstation EDU Kits at Finger Lakes Workforce Development Center

New Applied Bachelor’s Degree from Lorain County Community College Prepares Students to Fill Critical Need in Local Economy

Lorain County Community College (LCCC) is celebrating the launch this fall of its new Bachelor of Applied Science in Smart Industrial Automated Systems Engineering Technology program. This innovative program is the second applied bachelor’s degree to be delivered by LCCC. The first is in microelectronics manufacturing.

LCCC developed the Smart Industrial Automated Systems Engineering Technology applied bachelor’s degree program with input from local employers and in response to the rapid development of disruptive technologies shaping advanced manufacturing in Northeast Ohio. The applied bachelor’s degree program stacks easily with LCCC’s associate of applied science in automation engineering technology degree, allowing students to continue seamlessly from a two-year degree to a four-year degree. To help students prepare even further for the workforce, earn-and-learn opportunities are embedded into the curriculum. These paid work experience will help offset the already low cost to complete the program.

“We are thrilled to offer an affordable applied bachelor’s degree in this important manufacturing field,” LCCC President Marcia J. Ballinger, Ph.D., said. “Graduates of this program will have the skills and training necessary to fill talent gaps right here in Northeast Ohio.”

In support of the program, the LCCC has expanded capacity within its Nord Advanced Technology Center and Campana Center for Ideation and Invention. The BAS meets the Accreditation Board for Engineering & Technology requirements and trains students for job roles such as automation engineer, controls engineer, and systems engineer. Those positions are in high demand, with anticipated growth in the coming years. The degree leverages foundational work from the ARM Institute (Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing) on Industry 4.0 Skills and Competencies, and an Automation and Robotics Taskforce convened by the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association, which created a roadmap for industry-validated credentials.

Chris Leon, LCCC Lab Supervisor – Automation, in the LCCC Smart Industrial Automation Lab

As part of LCCC’s partnership with industry to expand the talent pipeline, complementing this degree is an Industry 4.0 Teacher Training pilot that has completed two cohorts and is currently recruiting for a third. The course integrates an FCR-02 certification, an independent, hands-on performance certification offered by NOCTI based on the labs in the FANUC Handling Tool Operations and Programming manual. Instructors who receive this certification can then offer test preparation to their students. Additional credentials earned by these educators, many of whom have no previous automation experience, include Allen Bradley PLC and Fanuc IR Vision 2d. The teacher education pilots leverage investments from both the U.S. Department of Labor and the Department of Defense STEM and manufacturing education programs. LCCC’s next phase of work is to customize this training for incumbent worker upskilling. Demand is so strong that the college has accelerated its schedule to meet this need. One example is a new FastTrack Robotics Operator Certificate recently approved for delivery, which can be completed in one semester and results in seven college credits and prepares students to earn the FANUC Robotics CERT Handling Tool Operations and Programming level 1 certification.

Bismarck State College Providing “Hacks” for Cyber Workforce Shortage

A polytechnic institution can loosely be defined as a university or college dedicated to the instruction of various technical arts and applied sciences. To elaborate further, a polytechnic educational model engages students and industry with hands-on, applied learning to develop workforce-ready knowledge, skills, and degrees. This model allows students to combine multiple academic programs (skill sets) to create customized college degrees with embedded industry-recognized stackable credentials. These specialized programs and credentials are created in partnership with industry professionals and can be short-term, flexible, and adaptable to meet the needs of both the student and industry.


“As North Dakota’s Polytechnic Institution, Bismarck State College (BSC) provides industry-responsive education to individuals seeking skills for employment or professional growth,” BSC Polytechnic Programs Outreach Director Alicia Uhde says. “We collaborate with business and industry leaders to develop curriculum and program pathways that impact the emerging economy. We connect talent to opportunity and create an avenue for employees and employers to be successful together.”

With that in mind, BSC leaders went to work on identifying opportunities and partnerships where students could advance education and skills at their own pace through college credits earned in high school; industry-specific certificates; associate degrees and Bachelor of Applied Science degrees. One such opportunity was identified within BSC’s Cybersecurity program.


In partnership with K-12, BSC developed a Mobile App Development certificate and a Cybersecurity Fundamentals certificate. Both programs are available to any student as early as their sophomore, junior, or senior year of high school.


“I certainly believe that our partnership with Bismarck State College has greatly benefited Bismarck Public School students over the years by allowing them to earn credits toward postsecondary certifications and degrees in Career and Technical Education pathways while still in high school,” says Bismarck Public Schools Career Academy Director Dale Hoerauf.

Earning a certificate in high school can be the first step toward a cybersecurity-related career. Each certificate can then be ‘stacked’ with other credentials to advance skills and education that can result in an associate or bachelor’s degree once enough credits are earned.

“As the costs and debt associated with higher education continues to be prohibitive for many students and their families, providing college credit in career and technical education (CTE) in high school provides a gateway to higher-paying jobs, especially with companies actively looking to fill highly skilled positions,” Uhde says. “These CTE certifications are hands-on education that not only provide highly technical skills but also improve teamwork, problem-solving, and communication skills in students.”

Cybersecurity stackable credentials aren’t just a win for new learners. Professionals already working in the industry can advance their careers by upskilling and stacking short-term certificates to make themselves more marketable or advance within their current organizations. Employers who opt to invest in their current employees can do so at an affordable price point for long-term ROI.

To further expand cyber programming as part of a locally responsive economic development strategy, BSC is working directly with the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), Microsoft, and other industry experts. In early 2022, BSC was selected as one of 14 colleges in the nation to receive the “Cyber Skills for All: Community Colleges Lead the Way Initiative” grant, funded by the Microsoft Foundation.

“This grant paves the way for BSC to prepare students for the digital economy,” says BSC Dean of Current and Emerging Technologies Mari Volk. “This funding helps us address the talent shortages and build a robust cybersecurity workforce pipeline that benefits students and local businesses.”

Building an adequate industry workforce doesn’t happen overnight. It can take years of fostering skills and interests. BSC has identified a way to do this starting as early as in middle school with their BSC GenCyber Camp. In just two years, this free five-day camp has grown to possibly the largest middle school cybersecurity camp in the country with 80+ participants and more on a waitlist to get in. Some traveled 75+ miles to attend and one camper came across the country from Florida.

The hands-on, interactive BSC GenCyber Camp gave middle schoolers opportunities to operate the college’s quadruped robotic dogs, develop their own games using Spheros (robots), learn basic hacking skills, and participate in a digital escape room. Because the camp was covered by grant funding, underrepresented student groups who may not have otherwise been able to attend were able to participate, including foster children and students from one of the state’s Native American reservation schools.

With a cyber workforce shortage in the country of nearly 500,000 trained professionals and only 3% of U.S. students attaining a credential in computer and information sciences and far fewer specializing in cybersecurity, BSC recognizes the high demand and is planning for the long term. Future cyber-related initiatives enhanced by hands-on learning include a real-time cybersecurity defense center or Security Operations Center (SOC), a maker’s space for community collaboration referred to as the Digital Hive, and a digital bus that will bring learning opportunities for digital technologies, cybersecurity, automation, artificial technologies, and many other advancements to rural communities that could otherwise be home to undiscovered yet much-needed talent in today’s digital economy.

Bismarck State College: Manufacturing North Dakota’s Workforce with Polytechnic Education

An ongoing employee shortage has left many employers in the manufacturing and automation industry without the qualified, trained workforce they need—a workforce with the skills to operate, maintain, and repair the machines that keep industry going. This shortfall will continue to create gaps in productivity and profit. However, a new polytechnic education model in the state’s capital city may be the solution to the challenges industry is facing. 

On Nov. 15, 2021, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum signed Senate Bill 2345 granting Bismarck State College (BSC) $38 million to advance BSC’s mission as a polytechnic college and to develop a more qualified workforce for the state.

“We are extremely appreciative of the level of confidence and commitment we’ve received from the governor and our legislative leaders to advance the ND State Board of Higher Education’s polytechnic mission at BSC,” says BSC President Doug Jensen. “North Dakota has tremendous natural assets that support economic growth in our state. The decision to invest in our polytechnic mission aligns perfectly with the state’s economic growth projects.”

BSC works closely with industry leaders to bridge the gaps in industry needs and ensure students are prepared the first day on the job, with the skills they need. BSC Polytechnic Program Outreach Director Alicia Uhde says learning experiences at a polytechnic institution are purposeful, practical, and driven by workforce needs. “As companies continue to advance, it is important to ensure that the workforce is prepared and ready to install, maintain, repair, operate, and troubleshoot these new technologies.”

A polytechnic education gives students more hands-on, applied learning opportunities through real-world experiences with labs, internships, and cooperative community projects.

“The industry partners that we work with at Bismarck State College know the quality and the skills of the students completing the program,” says Reynold Miller, associate professor in the BSC National Energy Center of Excellence.  

Applied learning at a polytechnic institution is intense and highly technical, but it’s also incredibly rewarding. Students prepare to solve complex social, economic, and community problems and achieve success in the real world.

“The result is exceptional career preparation, job placement, and higher wage earning. Our mission and polytechnic education model is all about connecting talent to opportunity over a lifetime,” says Uhde.

Many industries are becoming more integrated with computers and sensors, which require technicians to maintain their efficiency. While machines may replace some tasks previously performed by people, such as sorting mail packages or determining quality of a product, the use of automation actually creates more jobs for people to repair and troubleshoot these machines when needed.

Students studying manufacturing and automation use project-based learning to complete a solid foundation of electronic, electrical, mechanical, control systems, and robotic systems. They learn to integrate all these concepts and systems to increase the productivity and efficiencies of industrial facilities.

Skilled technicians are in high demand in an increasingly automated world, Uhde notes, and BSC is training the next generation of manufacturing and automation experts. “The manufacturing industry is evolving quickly with new technologies being launched continuously,” she says. “The hands-on, project-based learning that students engage in prepares them to support companies, so they stay competitive in the global market.”

BSC offers certificates and two- and four-year degrees in manufacturing and automation, providing learners with opportunities to upskill in their fields. Internships and externships, within the programs, give students meaningful connections with employers in industry.

“Education has to be more responsive to workforce needs and more responsive to the signals from the private sector,” Burgum said. “This is far more than just a new building. This is a new pathway for higher education in North Dakota.”

College of the Canyons Aims for New Standard of Excellence 

College of the Canyons has a significant opportunity to foster growth in the advanced technologies and manufacturing sector by expanding the current curricular focus beyond basic operator skills to a focus on specialized skill attainment that includes programming, diagnostics, and entry-level management, and leadership skills. The careers that result in this technical educational skill attainment are middle-skill level and provide wages exceeding a living wage, which for a single adult in Los Angeles County was $30,800 according to the Workforce Development & Aging Community Services (WDACS) report. COC is bringing together business partners, national organizations, workforce development entities, and economic development teams to create a facility that California has never seen. 

Our goal is to achieve a new standard excellence in five critical focus areas:

  1. CNC Precision Machining
  2. Welding/Fabrication
  3. Construction Technologies
  4. Industrial Maintenance
  5. Automation, Robotics & Mechatronics

College of the Canyons is in the first phase of creating a world-class Advanced Technology Center (ATC) to meet the workforce and economic development needs of North Los Angeles County. The rapid growth in industrial automation and advanced technology, with its focus on “Industry 4.0,” and an aging workforce population in these industries have created the urgent need for skilled workers in several essential infrastructure sectors, including: integrated advanced manufacturing/computerized machining (CNC), welding/material joining, robotic welding, integrated personal fabrication, construction technologies, and integration with the Internet of Things (IoT). The ATC will use a variety of training methods and delivery formats to meet the needs of traditional and non-traditional students, unemployed workers, and incumbent workers needing additional training and/or certification. We will also expand existing K-14+ pathways to train the workforce of the future, creating a well-trained pipeline of students prepared to enter these fields immediately upon graduation from College of the Canyons.

Our Interim ATC facility will focus primarily on CNC Precision Machining and Robotic Integration within our 13,500 sq. ft. facility. One side of the facility will house a manual machine shop lab and the other will house the CNC Precision Machining Lab. In addition, there will be a shipping/receiving room equipped with a tool crib, a small conference room, a computer lab, a classroom, and a conference room that also acts as a flex space. $1.7M dollars of equipment for the facility was purchased in August and will be installed in the coming months. This investment will help create a smart machine shop and provide students with the skills necessary to be gainfully employed as we move into Industry 4.0 as a nation.

In the coming months COC will work to become a FANUC Authorized Satellite Training Location and serve as a Regional Center of Excellence. Our partnerships with NCATC, Klein, FANUC, and the many other organizations involved in the project are critical to continued success as we look towards the future of building out the permanent ATC. “We couldn't have done it without the help from the folks at NCATC" said Tim Baber, Welding Technology Chair.

In addition, we are simultaneously building out a College of the Canyons ATC website that will connect, educate, and empower our prospective students and business partners. This website will launch by the end of September and showcase this incredible facility as well as the opportunities it holds for future.


Learn from the past (engaging employers), Empower the present (enhancing skill development for the current student/workforce populations), Prepare the future (providing opportunities for youth).

New Scale Robotics Deploys Six Q-Span Workstation EDU Kits at Finger Lakes Workforce Development Center

Ready-to-use educational kits include a collaborative robot, hardware, and course materials for hands-on training in robotics and automated metrology for manufacturing.

New Scale Robotics has deployed six Q-Span Workstation EDU Kits at the Finger Lakes Workforce Development (FWD) Center at Monroe Community College (MCC) in Rochester, NY. The ready-to-use kits help colleges and universities easily add hands-on robotics and metrology courses to their workforce development programs targeting advanced manufacturing.

“U.S. manufacturers are seeking employees with experience in collaborative robots and a basic understanding of metrology for quality control and process improvement,” said Stefan Friedrich, Marketing Manager at New Scale Robotics. “By adding these courses, the FWD Center continues to give job seekers a competitive edge through hands-on training with the latest and best technologies for advanced manufacturing.”

One system, two robotics courses

The Q-Span Workstation EDU Kits give educational program directors an easy way to offer two complementary courses—the UR Program for Education and the New Scale Robotics Intro to Metrology course—without the need to remove the robot from its secure position on the mobile workstation table.

The UR Program for Education covers the fundamentals of controlling the collaborative robot and includes labs for manipulating objects, using conveyors, palletizing, and other common robotics use cases in advanced manufacturing. The Intro to Metrology course covers the basics of metrology and includes labs for automated gauging using robotic calipers. Together the programs comprise a total of 40 hours of coursework.

Ready to implement for technical workforce development

“We focus on rapid training, retraining, and upskilling of technical workers in demand by local employers,” said Dr. Robin Cole, Vice President, Economic and Workforce Development and Career Technical Education at MCC. “New Scale Robotics and Universal Robots made it easy for us to expand our FWD Center course offerings with these educational kits, ready to implement and tailored to the needs of technical training programs like ours.”  

These Q-Span EDU Kits feature a Universal Robots UR3e collaborative robot mounted on a sturdy mobile workstation table. Kits include additional hardware, software, and course materials for hands-on training in both collaborative robots and basic metrology. Hardware components in the kit, such as a conveyor, part trays, and reference gauges, are easily added to or removed from the table for different lab exercises.

About New Scale Robotics

New Scale Robotics helps manufacturers automate manual gauging. Our Q-Span® Workstations combine measurements from a wide variety of gauges with robotic part handling and automated data logging. They improve efficiency, capacity, and real-time reporting of quality departments. Based on flexible and teachable collaborative robots, Q-Span Workstations are do-it-yourself (DIY) automation kits that fit into existing workflows. They help quality teams reduce errors, increase throughput, and better utilize skilled labor in small-batch, high-mix manufacturing. Easy to deploy without specialized training, they deliver return on investment (ROI) in less than ten months. A division of New Scale Technologies, Inc. near Rochester, NY, we have nearly 20 years of experience delivering small, precise and smart motion systems.

About The FWD Center

The Finger Lakes Workforce Development Center at Monroe Community College supports short-term and accelerated training programs that meet the evolving workforce demands of the region and place individuals in high-demand jobs within the local economy. These fast-track, industry-driven education and training programs focus on emergent smart technologies and Industry 4.0 skill sets, including mechatronics, automation and robotics, augmented and virtual reality, industrial internet of things, and more. The Center partners with regional employers to advance the education of existing and prospective employees, and is supported by funding from the State University of New York and New York State.

Welcome, New Members and Strategic Partners

New Education Members

New Strategic Partners