Bemidji State University awarded eTECH grant from National Science Foundation

BEMIDJI, Minn. (Aug. 4, 2010) — Bemidji State University will be working to close critical skills gaps in the manufacturing industry under a new program funded by the National Science Foundation.

The University’s 360 Degrees Manufacturing and Applied Engineering Center of Excellence has won a three-year, $871,951, Advanced Technological Education Grant from the foundation to provide funding for a program called eTECH.

The center of excellence, a partnership between the University and nine community and technical colleges in Minnesota, has been working for more than three years to address workforce needs in the manufacturing industry through its seamless career pathway and an innovative redesign of higher education delivery.

Using funding from the grant, the center will use the eTECH program to augment its seamless career pathway. Industry-approved credentials will be integrated into manufacturing and applied engineering curricula, and this enhanced program will be offered online to reach a maximum number of potential participants.

“The eTECH project takes technical education to the next level,” said Karen White, director of 360 Degrees. “We are advancing the skills and careers of students and workers so they can continue to succeed in the manufacturing industry. We are also developing key manufacturing programs that are accessible and flexible to meet the needs of today’s learner.”

Under the eTECH program, the center will adapt and develop a 165-credit curriculum to be delivered in a blended format, combining traditional classroom and lab education with online course delivery. This curriculum will be supported by the development of between 45 and 65 new or modified courses. These programs will allow students to work toward either a two- or four-year degree.

Using the grant funding, Bemidji State’s eTECH program will adapt existing curriculum to develop 15 credits of advanced machine technologist and welding technology curricula and 30 credits of industrial maintenance; mechanical drafting and design; lean manufacturing; and mechatronics curricula.

The eTECH project is intended to provide technological education that matches manufacturing’s need for high-skill workers with student needs for flexible course delivery that prepares them for rewarding, in-demand careers.

For more information, please contact Beth Campus at (218) 755-2206.

On the Web
• 360 Degrees: