Penn College students to study manufacturing in Germany with NSF grant

August 13, 2019

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — The National Science Foundation reaffirmed its confidence in Pennsylvania College of Technology’s efforts to combat the manufacturing skills gap by providing a supplemental grant to facilitate study abroad in Germany.

The grant will cover the cost of sending 10 Penn College manufacturing students and two faculty to Germany next summer to receive training at the Eckert International Vocational School and various companies on the cutting edge of computer numerical control and automation technology.

The 16-day trip will include hands-on experiences with tools used in the product development process; software operating milling, turning and multitasking machines; and robotic systems employed in the manufacturing industry.

“We are very grateful to receive the supplemental grant, which will facilitate a tremendous learning opportunity for both students and faculty,” said David R. Cotner, dean of Penn College’s School of Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies. “Germany is a world leader in CNC technology. The immersion program at Eckert and visits to renowned companies will offer unique insights that will enhance the education of today’s students and shape how we address the skills gap within our curriculum.”

According to a study conducted by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute, unfilled manufacturing jobs through 2028 may total 2.4 million, threatening the health of the U.S. economy. The study identified negative perceptions of manufacturing, the introduction of advanced technologies and the retirement of baby boomers as the main reasons for the skills gap.

Earlier this year, the NSF awarded the college a $591,924 grant through its Advanced Technological Education program to increase the number of qualified workers in advanced manufacturing.

Initiatives supported by that grant include curriculum development – such as a one-year certificate in CNC – and high-level equipment acquisition in the areas of multi-axis machining, coordinate measuring machines and additive manufacturing.

The study program in Germany facilitated by the supplemental grant will be operated as part of a three-credit course. Students will be selected for the course based on their major, GPA and other factors to be determined.

Richard K. Hendricks Jr., instructor of automated manufacturing and machining, served as the college’s principal investigator for the supplemental grant. Bradley M. Webb, assistant dean of industrial, computing & engineering technologies, was the co-principal investigator.

Penn College offers several manufacturing-related majors, including a bachelor’s degree in manufacturing engineering technology, associate degrees in automated manufacturing technology and machine tool technology, and a certificate in machinist general.

Information about those majors and other programs offered by the college’s School of Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies is available by calling 570-327-4520 or visiting www.pct.edu/icet.

For more on Penn College, a national leader in applied technology education, visit www.pct.edu, email admissions@pct.edu or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

Last Updated August 13, 2019