EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR'S MESSAGE                                                      

August 2018

NCATC Friends and Colleagues,

The inspiration for this column comes from my in-depth review of documents from the last 30 years produced by, for, and about the National Coalition of Advanced Technology Centers. In particular, the first decade (1988-1998) titled, “A Decade of Technology and Workforce Modernization,” compiled and written by my predecessor, mentor, and very good friend – Dr. Richard (Dick) Hinckley.

Today, as we celebrate our thirtieth anniversary, The Coalition continues to be a dynamic organization comprising over 170-member institutions which include over 30 corporate Strategic Partners. NCATC has held 60 conferences / workshops, has been involved in many major grants, and continues to help shape colleges through replicable examples of successful ATC facilities, programs, and real partnerships with the industries we serve.

Our “founding fathers,” Dan Hull, then President of CORD, and Carroll Marsalis, retired Tennessee Valley Authority executive, were genuinely concerned with the loss of industrial strength in the US and the need for much more advanced technology and manufacturing related training at two-year colleges. As they forged their vision they met with key community college leaders, including Nolan Ellison and Michael Taggart of Cuyahoga Community College (OH) and Walter Edling of Lorain County Community College (OH) to form the nucleus of NCATC in 1987.  Dan also began working with Dale Parnell, then President of AACJC (now AACC) on 2+2 articulation concepts which led to the beginning of Tech Prep and just this week, the overdue reauthorization of H.R. 2353 Perkins CTE Funding for $1.2B x 6 years was signed into law.

Fast forward to 2018 and so much has changed in advanced technology and manufacturing…or has it?!  Yes, the technologies that drive us are now in the fourth industrial revolution. Digital manufacturing, robotics, and Industry 4.0 are all around us. However, the need to attract, train, and place the right workforce in the right advanced technology career has never been more needed. Not even in 1988!

So, it’s “back to the future” as we celebrate 30 years with one of our top Strategic Focus Areas, Industry 4.0: Emerging Trends in Advanced Technology and Smart ManufacturingWe have partnered with AACC and the Arconic Foundation to help improve the content and processes for education and training―and identify promising practices―in advanced technology and manufacturing for the incumbent and future workforce pipelines in the U.S. This program will provide technical assistance to the cohort in diverse areas such as Cybersecurity, Simulation, System Integration, Big Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, Industrial Internet-Of-Things (IIOT), Additive Manufacturing, Advanced Robotics, etc.  For more details, see the AACC press release here.

The NCATC Board of Directors and staff look forward to seeing you at the 30th Anniversary NCATC Conference, September 19-21, 2018 when we return to the home of two founding member colleges, Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) and Lorain County Community College (LCCC), in Cleveland, OH!  For more event details, visit ncatc.org.

As always, we encourage you to stay regularly connected, via the NCATC website, social media, and quarterly e-newsletters like this one.

J. Craig McAtee, NCATC Executive Director