Volume 2, Issue 3 | March 2021
From the NSF ATE Community
Achievements of
National Center for Supply Chain Automation
Set the Stage for the
NCSCA 4th Annual Symposium
The National Center for Supply Chain Automation (NCSCA) will host its 4th Annual Symposium virtually on April 28-29 from noon to 3 pm EDT.

Despite the challenges of Covid-19, perseverance, resourcefulness, and collaboration delivered results for NCSCA over the past year. Expanded certification programs, updated curriculum, corporate apprenticeships, and the acquisition of industry-standard training equipment have all advanced the goal of training skilled supply chain technicians.
With industry partners, NCSCA successfully co-hosted twelve collaborative sessions titled “Next Generation Workforce Certification: Innovative Tools for Educating and Upskilling Supply Chain Automation Technicians,” reaching over 1,200 registrants. NCSCA also launched its highly-anticipated certification developed with guidance from MSSC & Amatrol in Fall 2020.

With additional NSF financial support, three partner colleges acquired Skill Boss Logistics (SBL) devices to assist with the certification, and Norco College leveraged funding to procure two devices to support the NCSCA apprenticeship program with Target Corporation and the supply chain automation courses.

Skills Boss Logistics is the required assessment device for multiple supply chain certifications offered by NCSCA partner colleges.
Industry Connection
Systems Integration Leader Outlines Three Critical Skill Sets for Solar Technicians
John Schwarzmeier, group leader of Systems Integration at SunPeak in Madison, Wisconsin, sees two sets of skills for solar technicians and the emergence of a third set of critical IT skills.

First, this is what he considers the “traditional” attributes for all solar technicians.
  • knowledge of electricity, circuits, solar energy, and the national electrical code;
  • understanding of the means and methods for installing solar energy systems;
  • fluency with construction terminology and tools;
  • experience with construction and job-site safety; and
  • a good work ethic.

Technician’s Blend of Technical, IT and Writing Skills a Good Fit for Solar Energy Company
Alex Thomas’s enthusiasm for renewable energy and the technical skills he learned during the three-semester certificate program at Madison Area Technical College (Madison College) in Wisconsin helped him get a paid internship as a systems integration technician at SunPeak.

As an intern, the 25-year-old Thomas worked alongside John Schwarzmeier, the group leader for Systems Integration who is in charge of operations and maintenance on large solar energy systems. His work was going along fine in the fall of 2020 when Schwarzmeier learned Thomas had a background in graphic design and journalism, and had taught himself several software languages.

Those skills made him a good fit for the company’s Project Development Department. “He showed promise, and helped me out doing things in the field and got a little taste of all aspects of the business,” Schwarzmeier said of Thomas and the company’s decision to hire him for the team that interacts between sales and installations.

Upcoming Events and Opportunities
MNT-EC Hosting Webinar on NanoHub
Micro Nano Technology Education Center (MNT-EC) is hosting a webinar on March 16 from 4:00 - 5:00 pm EDT. The webinar will teach you how to set up your own nanoHUB dashboard platform, introduce different simulation tool interfaces and run some of the simulations. No prior coding or simulation experience necessary! For more information or to register visit their website.
Call for Proposals: On Demand Sessions
The HI-TEC 2021 Virtual proposal form is now available! Presentations should take the form of a prerecorded and captioned video of 30 minutes or less, and/or a PowerPoint slide deck, and/or a PDF file. Speaker guidelines will be provided upon acceptance of session proposals. Conference attendees will be able to view these “on demand” sessions for up to six months after the virtual conference.
Questions about the content of your proposal: Greg Kepner or Bob Geer.
Questions about the submission form: Sheila Wilson.

Deadline for submissions is April 5.
2021 Community College Innovation Challenge March 18th Idea Vetting Session
AACC, in partnership with the National Science Foundation, invites community college students to participate in the 2021 Community College Innovation Challenge (CCIC). The CCIC is a national competition where community college student teams, working with a faculty or administrator team mentor, use STEM to develop solutions to real-world problems, attend a Virtual Innovation Boot Camp, and compete for cash awards.

New this year is the CCIC Application Idea Vetting Session on Wednesday, March 18 from 2:00–3:00 pm EDT. 

This is an opportunity to share your project ideas, ask questions, talk with a former CCIC judge and student participant as well as representatives from the American Association of Community Colleges and the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship. Click here for the description and registration link for this idea vetting session.

The CCIC application deadline is April 20, 2021. For more information about this opportunity visit the website.

To ask questions, please email CCIC@aacc.nche.edu.
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Disclaimer: This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under NSF DUE #1839567. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.