The National Science Foundation (NSF) annually funds approximately 12,000 new awards, with an average funding duration of three years. Each year some of those new awards are supported by the ATE Program, which focuses on improving and expanding educational programs for skilled workers in high-tech STEM fields. ATE grantees concentrate on a range of fields, including advanced manufacturing, agriculture and environment, bio and chemical, information and security, and micro and nanotechnologies and are based primarily at two-year institutions across the nation. This year we wanted to celebrate our new grantees by highlighting four newly funded projects from the 2022 funding cycle.
The Milwaukee Area Technical College created this project to connect underserved populations with education and careers in advanced building technology. Access to Careers in Advanced Building Technology's goals are to meet the industry's need for skilled technicians and increase the recruitment and retention of underrepresented students. They plan on doing this in collaboration with the City of Milwaukee and local industry partners. Building needs in Milwaukee and the larger area face numerous challenges, including increased health concerns, energy efficiency goals, management of new technologies, and high workforce attrition. The project seeks to increase the pool of skilled technicians ready to solve these challenges.
The project is developing a diploma program, four digital badges, a pre-apprenticeship program, and an apprenticeship program. These opportunities give students the skills for multiple entries into employment. The project's partnerships have already proved successful, with local industry organizations committing to hiring program students with paid internships. Access to Careers in Advanced Building Technology will also provide workshops with hands-on lab activities, career information, and job prospects.