Goodland, KS. (09/20/2023) – Northwest Tech was recently awarded grant funding from the National Science Foundation to bring modern advanced manufacturing equipment and introductory training courses to five regional partner high schools - Goodland Jr/Sr High in Goodland, KS; Colby HS in Colby, KS; St. Francis HS in St. Francis, KS; Brewster HS in Brewster, KS; and Flagler HS in Flagler, CO. This project will expose area high school students to advanced manufacturing and ignite their interest in high-wage and high-demand manufacturing fields. The grant is a critical cornerstone of the college's efforts to grow advanced manufacturing in Northwest Kansas.
"This NSF-ATE grant will provide wonderful opportunities to pursue advanced manufacturing and workforce development that Northwest Tech is exceptionally well positioned for. This project will give high school students a breadth of knowledge in manufacturing, engineering, and engineering technologies," said Michael Zimmerman, who leads the Mechanical Engineering Technology department at Northwest Tech.
The journey to expanding an advanced manufacturing ecosystem in Northwest Kansas began in earnest in 2021 when Northwest Tech began the curricular work to launch a new Mechanical Engineering Technology pathway to support regional industry. Shortly after, the college received a $500k grant from the Kansas Department of Commerce to design and equip an advanced manufacturing lab complete with additive and subtractive technology. Regional foundations, specifically the Dane G. Hansen Foundation, have provided additional funds for the program's success. The facility has become home to one of the most advanced collegiate labs in the state.
The addition of the Mechanical Engineering pathway at the college, subsequent grant funding, and the new advanced manufacturing lab are significant milestones as the college works to support, expand, and attract advanced manufacturing to Northwest Kansas. The new NSF grant will allow for expanded K-12 partnerships to increase access to hands-on training and equipment with area high school students.
Advanced manufacturing technology continues to evolve rapidly and is expanding across industry nationwide. However, employers in rural areas are experiencing a need for more qualified workers who want to continue to live and work in these rural areas, including Northwest Kansas. To help address these challenges, Northwest Tech developed this NSF - Advanced Technological Education (ATE) grant project to bring modern advanced manufacturing equipment and introductory training courses into the hands of area high school students.
"We are excited about the grant and want to express our appreciation to our industry partners and Sen. Jerry Moran for providing significant support for our proposal," said Ben Schears, President of Northwest Tech. "We hope to build on the vibrant advanced manufacturing ecosystem in Kansas and bring more opportunities to Northwest Kansas."
For more information about the Engineering & Drafting Technology program, please visit NWKTC.EDU
**NOTE: The picture on the next page is a MakerBot Method X Carbon Fiber 3D Printer. It is an example of one of the pieces of technology that will be provided to partner high schools through the grant.***