“What we find will help will provide practical guidelines and resources for school administrators and system designers to develop and deploy e-learning curricula, including virtual labs, for diverse audiences,” said Kapil Chalil Madathil, who is the Wilfred P. and Helen S. Tiencken Endowed Assistant Professor of Civil and Industrial Engineering and the director of technology for the Clemson University Center for Workforce Development.
Chalil Madathil leads development of virtual reality simulations for EducateWorkforce.com, working with Jeff Bertrand, director of visualizations for the Clemson University Center for Workforce Development.
The Clemson University Center for Workforce Development is a closely aligned sister program to CA2VES.
Presidents of collaborating educational institutions expressed enthusiasm for A2:
- Michael Mikota, Spartanburg Community College’s president and an alumnus of Clemson University, said: “Developing, disseminating, and assessing widespread use of digital learning tools will strengthen the STEM talent pipeline, promote A2 to diverse populations, and ultimately provide unique opportunities that previously did not exist. We look forward to continuing this vital work with CA2VES.”
- Keith Miller, president of Greenville Technical College, said: “A2 will allow a multi-state team to develop a permanent and sustainable e-learning curriculum that will help close the skills gap and increase the diversity and pipeline of skilled workers for the aviation industry. This project will greatly benefit Greenville Technical College’s Aircraft Maintenance Technology program, and we look forward to continuing our successful and long-standing partnership with CA2”
- Timothy Moore, president of Indian River State College, said: “Indian River State College is pleased to partner with Clemson University and CA2VES to develop virtual reality educational tools and training to support automotive and aviation technical education. Through this collaboration, IRSC will develop, pilot, and assess the effectiveness of education systems using Augmented Learning. A2 will have a tremendous impact on the workforce training and economic development of our community.”
Also showing enthusiastic support was John Lummus, president and CEO of Upstate SC Alliance.
“This project is well-timed as we adapt to the new normal,” he said. “The collaborative nature of A2 expands the reach of Clemson and its partners, widening and diversifying the STEM talent pipeline for our state and nation. We’re excited to see these institutions deepen their e-learning and virtual reality capabilities in direct support of the automotive, aviation and advanced manufacturing industries, which are also rapidly adapting to the changing business environment.”
As South Carolina’s land-grant university, Clemson University has a long history of successfully collaborating with two- and four-year colleges, state and federal agencies, and other private and public institutional partners across the state and beyond.
Because of these efforts, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and the United States Department of Commerce profiled Clemson University for its pioneering contributions in economic development. The recent National Science Board publication, “The Skilled Technical Workforce: Crafting America’s Science and Engineering Enterprise,” highlighted CA2VES for its collaborative, multifaceted design and impacts.
The CA2VES partnerships and collaborations developed among technical and community colleges, universities, and industry leaders have created a paradigm shift in STEM research, education, and workforce development.
Clemson University and other A2 Project team members have a long history of listening to stakeholders and refining activities and projects based on the information provided by the community, as evidenced by the Technologies for an Advanced Manufacturing Workforce Seminar held by Clemson University on Feb. 12. This seminar focused on new developments and future needs in the realm of local workforce development and education with speakers from industry, state agencies, and academia
Funding for A2 is provided by a National Science Foundation program called Advanced Technological Education.
EducateWorkforce.com is now divided into five courses broken into 48 modules. Instructors can use full courses, or pluck individual modules to augment their own courses. The platform is used mostly by instructors at technical and community colleges but also some high schools and universities.
Individual students can also access the courses. They are available online at low cost to make them more accessible to adults who want to acquire new skills while balancing work and family obligations.
As part of the new round of funding, educators will work to expand the curriculum available on EducateWorkforce.com.
Spartanburg Community College will be tasked with creating a mechatronics program focused on applications in the automotive industry. Greenville Technical College will complete a curriculum for aviation maintenance technicians that meets standards set by the Federal Aviation Administration.
Also as part of the grant, Indian River State College will work with industry in Florida to ensure EducateWorkforce.com’s curriculum is applicable beyond South Carolina.
Anand Gramopadhye, dean of Clemson University’s College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences, serves as the principal investigator on the grant.
“Here is an example of the work driven by the Clemson University Center for Workforce Development at CU-ICAR, one that illustrates the transformative impact we can have on the economy,” Gramopadhye said. “It so clearly emphasizes the meaningful change possible when we listen to industry partners and have exceptional talent working together with broad institutional support from our leaders at academic institutions and state and federal agencies. Projects such as this one reinforce our ability to respond to these challenging times.”