1. Mason Lefler
  2. Associate Vice President for Educational Innovation
  3. Scaling Up Utah's Automated Manufacturing Technician Pipeline
  4. Bridgerland Technical College
  1. Scott Danielson
  2. Associate VP for Instruction
  3. Scaling Up Utah's Automated Manufacturing Technician Pipeline
  4. Bridgerland Technical College
  1. Matt Fuller
  2. Instructor
  3. Scaling Up Utah's Automated Manufacturing Technician Pipeline
  4. Bridgerland Technical College
Public Discussion
  • Icon for: Jack Broering

    Jack Broering

    Program Coordinator
    May 5, 2020 | 11:33 a.m.

    Looks like a great approach to getting students to think about potential careers before they graduate. Also it accentuates higher-paying jobs. I often see people who are dismayed by the loss of traditional jobs. For instance, I have heard complaints about using self checkout at a grocery store as it displaces a worker. Most folks don't realize that this has caused  an opportunity for someone who fixes these self-checkout machines when they don't work. Your program addresses this problem in that it provides training for 21st century jobs. You're addressing a great need for students. 

    Nice video. Thanks. 

     
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    Mason Lefler
    Matt Fuller
  • Icon for: Matt Fuller

    Matt Fuller

    Co-Presenter
    May 7, 2020 | 01:22 p.m.

    Thank you Jack, it's been quite a project. You mentioned self-checkout machines and those who have to maintain them. You are so right. It has amazed me how many different industries are relying more and more on the skill sets we are teaching students in Automated Manufacturing and Electronics. Our big employment sector is Manufacturing, but we are getting requests from Agriculture, Mining, Oil & Gas, Utilities, and others. Our students really do make the world turn, and there are plenty of high paying local opportunities for them to take advantage of. Love it!

     
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    Jack Broering
  • May 5, 2020 | 04:47 p.m.

    Love this project!  I chair the Civil Engineering Technology program at Springfield Technical Community College in Massachusetts and have been thinking about how to impact high school students and educators in meaningful and productive ways, well beyond typical recruiting activities.  Your focus on stackable credentials resonates.  Going to do some more reading/research about your project and reach out at some point if you're willing to discuss.  Many of our technology programs at STCC would benefit from this approach!

    For now, I'm curious as to the level of involvement that local industry has in terms of resources, internships, licensure training, etc.  Also very interested in the diversity of your participating students and the high school landscape in general.  Are you making strides in urban or rural schools?  Are you reaching high school girls in meaningful numbers?  

     
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    Mason Lefler
    Matt Fuller
  • Icon for: Matt Fuller

    Matt Fuller

    Co-Presenter
    May 7, 2020 | 01:22 p.m.

    I'll dive right into your questions. First, industry has been involved from the very beginning, and supported the project in key ways like writing letters of support for grants, hiring our students, donating equipment, providing opportunity for industry tours (which they have had to get special permission from corporate since most of the are under 18), and reviewing curriculum.

    Our pipeline of high school students went from averaging 10 per year to around 120. This has created a new problem where employers who have traditionally tried to hire people with 5 years or more of experience have not changed hiring criteria, despite the fact that they can't find anyone with that much experience. HR rules that come down from corporate and other internal obstacles make it difficult sometimes for our students to get their foot in the door despite the fact that the employers are the ones asking for them. Future goals of our project include piloting and standardizing internship opportunities so that each company doesn't have reinvent the wheel, they just have to commit to accepting a certain number per year. We were making good progress in this direction, then Covid 19 hit and hiring freezes have put a hold on our efforts there. 

    Employers in our area do not require licensure for Automated Manufacturing and Electronics Techs. 

    We are considered a rural area in general. One of the really cool things about our project is that we can  duplicate it pretty much anywhere. For example Rich High School which is out in the middle of nowhere and averages a student body of about 120 students per year, has been able to connect with us every morning. They have the equipment they need and we've had as many as 1/4 or the student body enrolled because there's not as many elective opportunities in those schools. We are seeing similar results with our sister school who adopted our model. They serve a school in Wendover who's population is primarily Hispanic and Native American (also a small school). When we did our visit there, the classroom was full and the students were doing very well. 

    The biggest reason this works is because we are able to show students opportunity to make themselves more valuable for local industry, and we have numerous success stories. 

    High school girls are tough. Our numbers here have increased each year, but we're still talking about a very small percentage of the whole. When we talk to our employers, in many cases more than half of their workforce are women, but they don't start looking at manufacturing as an option until well after they have graduated from high school. The result is that they tend to accept jobs that require little education are repeatable, and therefore susceptible to replacement by automated systems. We have tried for years to try and help Jr High and High School girls recognize this with limited success. It's just not part of their life plan at that age. 

     
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    Ann-Claire Anderson
  • Icon for: Mercy Mugo

    Mercy Mugo

    Facilitator
    May 5, 2020 | 05:39 p.m.

    Amazing project. It seems like the project has been adapted in greater magnitude than initially anticipated. I'm wondering what kind of adjustments you've had to make in terms of resources and personnel to meet the demands of multiple institutions across the state. Also, what is the impact of Covid-19 on the project?

     
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    Mason Lefler
    Matt Fuller
  • Icon for: Matt Fuller

    Matt Fuller

    Co-Presenter
    May 7, 2020 | 01:23 p.m.

    Covid-19 shut down all of the high schools, which essentially shut us down as well. We had a big discussion about whether or not to let students check equipment out and take it home. We left it up to our facilitators to decide at each location. The result has been that I have grading, supporting, and giving feedback to several high school and adult students completely online each day, but they are going to run out of things they can do from home soon. Luckily we are going to be able to allow students back in to do labs on a scheduled basis starting on the 18th. 

    When I started working at the school 6 years ago, there were two full time and and two part time employees. We now have have 8 full time instructors and another 8 facilitators we pay for an hour of their day each morning during the school year. Our overall 900 hour certificate completion numbers went from about 9 per year to somewhere between 60 and 80 depending on the school year. 

  • Icon for: Shellie Banfield

    Shellie Banfield

    Higher Ed Administrator
    May 5, 2020 | 06:28 p.m.

    I really enjoyed your video. It really gives a great overview of your project. The work force readiness focus really speaks to students, their parents, and employers! There are high wage careers out there that many people don't know how to prepare for those jobs.  Your grant is really connecting learning with earning!

     
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    Mason Lefler
  • Icon for: Matt Fuller

    Matt Fuller

    Co-Presenter
    May 5, 2020 | 10:46 p.m.

    Thanks Shellie, we're trying hard to make sure our local economy is thriving, and our students are aware of and take advantage of local opportunity!

     
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    Mason Lefler
  • Icon for: Mason Lefler

    Mason Lefler

    Lead Presenter
    Associate Vice President for Educational Innovation
    May 6, 2020 | 10:49 a.m.

    Thanks Shellie! It really is a shame that more students, teachers, counselors, and parents still think that it is "career OR college". . . or that it is either "technical college OR university". Stackable credential pathways that connect high schools, technical colleges, and universities free students from losing out on any one pathway. Now they get to do them all simultaneously while saving time and money! Thank you for your comment!

     
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    Ann-Claire Anderson
  • Icon for: Gerhard Salinger

    Gerhard Salinger

    Facilitator
    May 5, 2020 | 10:56 p.m.

    It certainly appears that your project is having a great impact in Utah.  How did you get industry to be specific about its needs?  

     
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    Mason Lefler
  • Icon for: Matt Fuller

    Matt Fuller

    Co-Presenter
    May 6, 2020 | 10:38 a.m.

    All of our instructors have worked in industry and are simply excellent. Advisory committees are also key, and having the right advisory members on the committee is critical. Getting the right people on the committee is critical. They have to be people who have the ability to help get students hired, give meaningful feedback, and we try and include as many as we can. This requires going on site at their facilities and talking to them. We meet with advisory committees twice a year, but we also schedule meetings at individual plants where we try to bring in the managers and HR people who are working with our students and get direct feedback from them.  

     
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    Mason Lefler
  • May 6, 2020 | 08:39 a.m.

    This seems like a great project and a well done video.  I like how you've addressed the talent pipeline at so many levels and created incentives from accessing low cost version of the equipment used in industry early on in the education process, to creating stackable credentials to reduce the overall cost of education and training.  I'm wondering if you've thought about using Perkins V money to reach into middle school and/or if you've thought of bringing out of school young people into this industry and provide them with on-ramps to stackable credentials.  We've adapted our CEE STEM project (see our video in this showcase) to one area of advanced manufacturing - industrial maintenance technicians and are working on another project to provide career exploration in biofabrication where automation technicians and engineers are essential. Would love to chat more.  Sam

     
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    Mason Lefler
  • Icon for: Matt Fuller

    Matt Fuller

    Co-Presenter
    May 6, 2020 | 10:49 a.m.

    We have not used Perkin V money to reach into middle school. We have a wonderful stackable credential program in partnership with Utah State University and others. Our certificates not only provide a way for students to get their foot in the door in most industries at very high rates of pay, but they also apply 30 credits toward an Associate of Applied Science at USU. Students can then stack a Bachelor of Science in Technology Systems on top of the AAS degree, and our advanced certificate can apply another 15 credits toward that. On top of this, most of our employers offer tuition reimbursement which is the equivalent of a full ride scholarship. So if you think about it, this path not only offers educational opportunity, but it also helps students work their way through school which gives them on the job experience (how many students graduating with a associate and bachelor degrees do you know who finish with three to four years of on the job experience?) they will finish with zero debt, and they will be done on the education side much faster than their peers. This is opportunity we explain to students... the smart ones (and I'm not necessarily talking about the straight A ones) see the opportunity and take advantage of it. This is why we have students who spend 2 to 3 years in high school coming in an hour early every day, spending their summers at our school, and doing everything they can to complete as much of their certificate while they're still in high school. It's really fantastic. 

     
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    Mason Lefler
  • Icon for: Mason Lefler

    Mason Lefler

    Lead Presenter
    Associate Vice President for Educational Innovation
    May 6, 2020 | 10:52 a.m.

    Hi Sam,

    Thanks for you comment. We have not thought about Perkins V money to reach middle school students. In order to be able to reach down to elementary and middle school students we have housed the local maker space at our campus. This has increased awareness but I am very interested in your Perkins V funding as well as your CEE STEM project. I will definitely check it out! And yes, I/we would love to chat and learn from your project. 

  • Icon for: Jeremy Roschelle

    Jeremy Roschelle

    Facilitator
    May 6, 2020 | 04:39 p.m.

    The breadth of your video is very inspiring -- how you involved different institutions throughout your state. I'm very curious about what pulls people to all work together across such a large improvement network. Some would say "shared measures" are important. Some would say "a hub organization." Some might say "leadership." What do you think are the key factors in creating a region-wide, cross-connecting change like this?

     
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    Mason Lefler
  • Icon for: Mason Lefler

    Mason Lefler

    Lead Presenter
    Associate Vice President for Educational Innovation
    May 7, 2020 | 01:22 p.m.

    Hi Dr. Roschelle - Big fan of your research.

    In order to get everyone to work together, I think that you are correct that shared measures, a hub organization, and leadership have all played their part.

    With respect to shared measures, the Utah's Governor's Office of Economic Development put together some funding opportunities which would were only awarded to groups of industry and educational institutions. This incentivized everyone to work together. Beyond money, there was a very strong economic argument as well as an argument for student futures (academic and career). It was an easy sell for anyone to see why this program was win win for everyone. 

    Bridgerland served as the "hub organization" as the technical college's in Utah as part of their mission simultaneously reach into high schools, universities, and industry in our area. 

    Matt Fuller's "leadership" was also very important. Matt is a mover and shaker and was very ingenious in aligning the incentives of the grant for all constituents. For example, one key incentive that has fostered the dramatic growth of the AM STEM program is that high school teachers can earn an extra stipend for their time worked on the project. We couldn't emphasize more how critical high school teacher involvement has been. Matt also made sure that the program was initially set up as a zero hour time prior to the start of the school day. This settled issues relating to CTE funding that could have potentially caused problems between the technical college and local school districts. 

    I would also add that the initial success of the program has bread more success. Momentum has opened up other areas for collaboration that didn't exist early across the state or region. 

    Thank you for your comments,

    Mason

     
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    Ann-Claire Anderson
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