Ashtabula Campus Collaborative Effort Earns Best of the County Workforce Innovation Award

As part of its partnership with ITEN Industries for their work in collaborating toward developing solutions to workforce challenges, Kent State University at Ashtabula was a recipient of Growth Partnership for Ashtabula County’s 2022 Workforce Innovation Award at the organization’s annual Best of the County event Sept. 20, 2022. ITEN and Ashtabula County Technical & Career Campus (A-Tech) shared the award with Kent State Ashtabula.

“Manufacturing is a huge part of the Ashtabula economy, and as our partners at ITEN have pointed out, 3D printing is the wave of the future in efficient precision manufacturing and prototyping,” said Interim Dean and Chief Administrative Officer Bill Ayres, Ph.D. “Access to this technology, and the skills required to use it, are critical for Ashtabula County businesses to innovate in a competitive marketplace.”

ITEN approached Kent State Ashtabula in the spring to develop a curriculum program related to 3D printing and manufacturing, which senior lecturer Michael Czayka did in conjunction with the Kent State Tuscarawas engineering technology program. ITEN is a globally recognized leader in the manufacturing of thermoplastic and thermoset stamped, molded and machined plastic parts and is emerging as a leader in the 3D manufacturing space.

With this collaboration, students in Ashtabula can take courses in the Tuscarawas Campus’ program online and on campus locally while utilizing ITEN’s state-of-the-art 3D printing equipment as a laboratory.

Students can take eight courses in the proposed 3D printing curriculum. Courses include engineering drawing principles, 3D modeling introduction, polymers, manufacturing processes and more. The courses are currently taught as part of the Tuscarawas engineering technology degree programs, which include associate degrees in electrical/electronic engineering technology, mechanical engineering technology and technical modeling design, as well as a bachelor’s degree offering several engineering technology concentrations.

This program is the first step in potentially developing a certificate or “stackable credential” in 3D printing and manufacturing that would transition into the associate and ultimately bachelor’s degree programs.

“Access to education here at home addresses a critical component – the workforce,” Ayres said. “This opens up a new range of highly skilled jobs to Ashtabula County residents, allowing them the opportunity to prosper right here and contribute back to their communities.”

The ITEN and A-Tech partnership centers around a work-based learning component to A-Tech’s Early Placement Program that provides real-world work experience and internship opportunities for students in A-Tech’s Engineering Academy and in the Precision Machining and Manufacturing and Architecture and Engineering Design programs.

This year’s Best of the County event included an additional Kent State Ashtabula award connection and celebration as recently retired Dean Susan J. Stocker, Ph.D., was recognized for the Growth Partnership President’s Award she received earlier this year.  

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POSTED: Monday, October 3, 2022 - 2:30pm
UPDATED: Monday, October 17, 2022 - 10:36am
WRITTEN BY:
Kent State Ashtabula Communications and Marketing