BGSU Receives STEM Talent Challenge Grant

(From the Center To Advance Manufacturing)

In recognition of the University’s mission to meet 21st century industry demands and develop pathways to competitive-paying manufacturing careers for BGSU graduates, the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) recently announced an investment of nearly $333,000 to support Bowling Green State University in its efforts to create an ecosystem to transform smart manufacturing curriculum and training by engaging industry professionals in work-related learning modules and hands-on activities.

The ecosystem will provide a talent-driven model for developing technical and professional skills in smart technology-enabled manufacturing. The project’s goals are to:

  • Support competencies of smart technology-enabled manufacturing graduates and technicians with courses, certifications, and badges
  • Create pathways to local industry jobs at local high schools and community colleges
  • Attract minority and female students to smart manufacturing careers
  • Collaborate with industry partners and economic development agencies to align the program outcomes with local workforce needs.

The BGSU School of Engineering’s e-Factory, the Center for Regional Development, and the Center to Advance Manufacturing will provide pathways to accelerate innovation and grow entrepreneurship interest among students and professionals. An engaged industry advisory board will guide the team with a successful implementation.

“The Advancing Regional Talent in Smart Technology Enabled Manufacturing (ART in STEM) project will create an ecosystem to transform smart manufacturing curriculum and training in our Northwest Ohio region. As a public university for the public good, we are part of Ohio’s journey to create a future generation of STEM workforce to thrive in the heartland of U.S. manufacturing.” said Dr. MD Sarder, Director of the BGSU School of Engineering and Principal Investigator of this grant.

The University was one of 11 grant recipients from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration STEM Talent Challenge that were selected from a pool of 90 applicants. The national competition supports programs to train science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) talent and fuel regional innovation economies across the nation. “One of the strengths of the University’s application was its collaboration between the BGSU School of Engineering’s e-Factory, the Center for Regional Development, and the Center to Advance Manufacturing,” said Tim Mayle, Executive Director of the Center to Advance Manufacturing.

A total of $4.5 million in STEM Talent Challenge awards given to the 11 programs nationwide will fund programs that create pathways to STEM careers, complement regional innovation economies and build talent pipelines for businesses to fill in-demand jobs in emerging and transformative sectors. The University is receiving $332,828 to support its hands-on training opportunities for students in technology manufacturing.

“The Center for Regional Development at BGSU is proud to be part of this project that will develop the next-generation STEM workforce needed to move key industries in Northwest Ohio forward and ensure a prosperous and inclusive future for the region built on innovation,” said Nichole Fifer, Director of the Center for Regional Development. The grants were announced by Alejandra Y. Castillo, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development.

“The STEM Talent Challenge helps communities leverage their greatest asset – people,” Castillo said. “We are thrilled to partner with these 11 grant recipients to strengthen training programs and apprenticeship opportunities that will ensure that individuals can build careers in STEM fields in their own communities. The industries of tomorrow need a robust talent pool. This program builds on EDA’s mission of seeding the emerging and critical industries of tomorrow, and ensuring that we are strengthening a workforce that can propel these sectors to success.”