Eight Things We Heard at ATE PI

Live from Washington, DC… it’s the Principal Investigators conference!

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All NSF ATE (Advanced Technological Education) grantees each fall gather at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington DC to attend the Principal Investigators conference.  In addition to hosting a breakfast roundtable on the popular BILT model and BILT toolkit, your National Convergence Technology Center (CTC) also attended a number of sessions and keynotes to learn best practices and resources from other grantees.  If weren’t there, below are some of the things you missed.  We attended so you didn’t have to go.

  1. PhD engineers typically need 7-20 skilled technicians to support their work in pursuit of a specific project goal.
  2. The National Science Board created a 58-page study of The Skilled Technical Workforce with specific recommendations for how to address the ongoing technical job workforce gap. “Skilled technical workforce” (STW) is a new term for the National Science Board, designed to identify those STEM jobs that don’t need a four-year degree.
  3. The ongoing media coverage of an all-automated, job less future may be just a scare tactic. There will be jobs in the future, but workers will need to learn new skills. The proliferation of ATMs did not replace bank tellers; rather, it created new skills for the tellers.  Further, the cost savings, ATMs created, allowed banks to open more branches, thereby creating new jobs.
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  4. One key to future work is “versatility.” Workers will need a wide breadth of knowledge (think of Renaissance scholars who were poets, painters, and physicists), yet be able to sharpen expertise in a specific area as needed.
  5. IT students need to know why they’re taking electives like speech. Context is important. Address the begrudging “I guess I’ll take it if I have to” response to electives.
  6. Not only does adaptive, self-paced learning formats allow more time for students who are struggling, but overall it increases the pace of learning for everyone else.
  7. Business and industry often “hire for character” with the understanding that hard technical skills canbe taught much easier than teaching character and other employability skills like work ethic, critical thinking, and dependability.
  8. A number of free cybersecurity interactive exercises can be found on the Brookdale Community College website.
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