HI-TEC: High Impact Technology Exchange Conference 2024

HI-TEC: High Impact Technology Exchange Conference 2024

Supported by the National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education (NSF ATE) program, HI-TEC is a national conference on advanced technological education where secondary and postsecondary educators, counselors, industry professionals, trade organizations, and technicians can update their knowledge and skills. Charged with preparing America’s skilled technical workforce, the event focuses on the preparation needed by the existing and future workforce for companies in the high-tech sectors that drive our nation’s economy.


Thursday, Aug 1, 8:00-8:45a – Scalable Smart Manufacturing Workforce Development Community Model w/VR/Digital Twin Technologies(S80) / Speakers: Amarnath Banerjee, Associate Department Head for Undergraduate Affairs, Industrial and Systems Engineering, Texas A&M; Conrad Leiva, VP of Ecosystem and Workforce Education, CESMII the National Smart Manufacturing Institute; Paul Perkins, President, Amatrol, Inc.                                       

The most significant barrier to the expansion of smart manufacturing technologies is the lack of a trained workforce caused by teacher shortages and inconvenient access to training facilities. Texas A&M University, CESMII, the national Smart Manufacturing Institute, and Amatrol will share the results of a year-long project designed to solve this problem through a scalable community model that distributes the training resources to the point of learner access with virtual reality and interactive multimedia online short certification courses. This community model also includes a teacher training academy whose purpose is to upskill teachers in high schools, colleges, and industry throughout Texas in SM skills.


Thursday, Aug 1, 1:45-2:30p – An Easier Path to Smart Manufacturing Skills in the Workforce (S79) / Speakers: Conrad Leiva, VP of Ecosystem and Workforce Education, CESMII the National Smart Manufacturing Institute; James Wall, Executive   Director, Smart Automation Certification Alliance (SACA); Paul Perkins, President, Amatrol, Inc.

Advanced technologies are paving new paths for today’s workers, offering opportunities to upskill existing workers and train new workers for high-paying careers in advanced manufacturing and energy industries. CESMII, the national Smart Manufacturing Institute; SACA, the Smart Automation Certification Alliance; and Amatrol, a leader in career and technical education (CTE) solutions, will share how colleges can accelerate the availability of training for these career pathways by leveraging industry-driven microcredentials to shape instructor and workforce training programs and how workers can accumulate microcredentials as they work and apply them to emerging two- and four-year degrees.



Wednesday, July 31, 10:15-11:00a – STEM Collaborations with Advanced Manufacturers and Industry (S65) /Moderator: Brad Conrad, Education and Workforce Development Manager, NIST, Manufacturing USA                                                                                   

In late 2023, there were over 600,000 U.S. manufacturing jobs open. Manufacturers consistently cite the lack of a skilled workforce as one of the biggest challenges in advanced manufacturing. Manufacturing USA Institutes can partner with and assist educators as they navigate the career pathways and skills students will need to excel in industry. This panel will highlight local, regional, and national collaborations established by Manufacturing USA Institutes between industry members and educators to support the workforce of 2024 and beyond.


Wednesday, July 31, 11:15-Noon – Smart Systems HyFlex Workforce for Ecosystem of Small Medium Enterprises, Manufacturing USA, CHIPS (S87) / Speaker: Sam Samanta, Professor of Physics, Coordinator of Smart Systems Technologies, Finger Lakes Community College, Victor, New York

Through HyFlex scheduling, the Digital Transformation of Smart Systems Technologies degree has broadened access for incumbent workers, remote students, and underemployed baccalaureates. Beyond cyberphysical automation, students learn the use of emerging Industry 4.0 technologies such as digital twins, AVR, and industrial AI. Paid co-ops matched with employer needs are critical for high rates of completion (75 percent) and job placement (~100 percent) in a high-tech ecosystem of 50+ diverse businesses. Arguably, this program provides the most efficient blueprint for sustainably meeting (1) current high-tech workforce needs for 98 percent of employers and (2) the workforce ramp-up challenge for advanced manufacturing technologies accelerated by the Manufacturing USA Institutes and reshoring initiatives of the CHIPS Act.


Thursday, August 1, 11:15-Noon- Skills for Tomorrow’s Careers: Manufacturing USA (S63) / Moderator: Brad Conrad, Education and Workforce Manager, NIST, Manufacturing USA

Manufacturing USA supports hands-on, experiential programs that familiarize students with advanced manufacturing technology, entrepreneurship, and career pathways that can lead to good paying advanced manufacturing careers. The Manufacturing USA Institutes support a wide variety of technologies and programs that effectively connect students, often from underserved communities, with resources and opportunities that can help guide their career decision-making through college. This panel discussion will focus on the most common skills necessary for advanced manufacturing career pathways in 2024 and will outline several institute programs that partner with community colleges and how you can bring these engaging programs to your school.


Thursday, August 1, 3:45-4:30p – Career Pathways in Advanced Manufacturing and Industry (S64) / Moderator: Brad Conrad, Education and Workforce Manager, NIST, Manufacturing USA

Did you know there are advanced manufacturing careers in high-end fashion, sustainable agriculture, and artificial intelligence? Manufacturing USA Institutes support talent pipelines in technology areas spanning a broad range of technologies including bio fabrication, composites, robotics, semiconductors, cybersecurity, advanced materials, and decarbonization. This panel will highlight the breadth of advanced manufacturing careers that are open to STEM students, non-traditional manufacturing careers, how to make the connections between students’ interests and those careers, our Modern Makers Career Pathways project, and how students can access opportunities in and pathways to advanced manufacturing careers.

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