CLC Wins $883,000 National Science Foundation Grant for Manufacturing Curriculum Development

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), November 1, 2016 | Go to article overview

CLC Wins $883,000 National Science Foundation Grant for Manufacturing Curriculum Development


Byline: College of Lake County

The College of Lake County Board of Trustees accepted a competitive grant of $883,093 from the National Science Foundation's Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program at the Oct. 25 board meeting. The project is a partnership between CLC (the grant initiator and fiscal agent), Anne Arundel Community College in Maryland, Florida State College in Jacksonville, Fla. and the Florida Advanced Technological Education Center. Mechanical Engineering Professor Margie Porter is the grant's principal investigator, and CLC's portion of the award is $449,445.

"The college is very happy to receive this grant, which addresses a critical workforce need in Lake County's manufacturing sector," said Board Chair Dr. William M. Griffin.

According to the National Association of Manufacturers, only 30 percent of parents encourage their children to enter manufacturing and only 17 percent of people view it as a top career choice. Mechatronics is a high-paying, highly skilled career that is ultimately portable to any part of the United States. Mechatronics technicians are qualified to install, maintain, troubleshoot and repair automated, "intelligent" machinery used in manufacturing.

Grant funds will be used to develop a new technician curriculum and create a mechatronics associate degree at CLC. Low-cost, hands-on, mechatronics trainers for use in high schools and community colleges also will be created to begin high school career pathways to higher education in mechatronics. Professional development opportunities for high school and community college instructors also will be offered. The grant period is from Oct. 1, 2016 to Sept. 30, 2019.

Porter, who will oversee the grant, has been a CLC faculty member and chair of the mechanical engineering technology department since 2002. A graduate of Northwestern University's mechanical engineering program (B.S. and M.S.), she has worked in industry for 16 years and is finishing her doctorate in education. She led the mechatronics program element of CLC's first mechatronics grant.

"The demand exceeds the supply for mechatronics technicians in our district. The intent of this project is to prepare students to become world-class mechatronics technicians using active learning strategies with adaptable expertise," Porter said.

CLC has received two previous awards from the Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program in the laser, optics and photonics program that created a certificate and an associate degree with high school dual credit pathways. The college has also been involved in two ATE grants from the National Science Foundation, two awards in the S-STEM program and several other NSF-funded projects.

CLC Police staff and department honored

Jim Hutton, regional planning coordinator for ILEAS (Illinois Law Enforcement Alert System) presented CLC Police Chief Tom Guenther with the ILEAS Preparedness Award. The certificate of completion recognizes the department's "superior planning and preparedness. …

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