Northwest Tech Receives $500,000 Grant- Goodland, KS. (11/03/2020)
Northwest Tech is proud to announce the recent award of a $499,995 grant to be directed toward advanced equipment and training to be integrated into the college’s Engineering Technology program. The grant comes to the college through an initiative launched by the Kansas Department of Commerce in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to expand opportunities for education in advanced manufacturing and automation throughout the state.
Northwest Tech will utilize the grant funds to secure several new cutting-edge pieces of manufacturing equipment for the Engineering Technology program and expand curriculum to include new coursework and training in advanced manufacturing and automation. In the near-term it will allow students to choose between two pathways during their second year in the program; civil engineering or mechanical engineering. In addition to program changes, the college will be able to partner with area high schools and community members to deliver courses online and on-site in G-Code; the programming language used for CNC programming.
The goal is for the equipment enhancements to meet the shifting needs of industry partners and the state’s workforce involved in advanced manufacturing and to engage the college in regional economic development. It is the college’s hope to see area community members and businesses bring new concepts for product creation to the lab to allow students to draft, digitize in CAD, and prototype new products for the marketplace. This grant will improve Northwest Tech’s connection with Kansas’ manufacturing industry by providing access to innovative technology to students and broaden the labor pool to attract industry to the area. It is the college’s hope to see area community members and businesses bring new concepts for product creation to the lab to allow students to draft, create and prototype for new products.
“One of the unique responsibilities we have as institutes of higher education, is to position the college in a manner that not only responds to the needs of our regional economy, but also helps to drive and develop new opportunities”, said President Ben Schears, “The submission our team at Northwest Tech has developed for this grant accomplished exactly that; it is both responsive and focused on growth.”
Within the existing framework of our Engineering Technology program, the students are trained to become design technicians in either the civil engineering field or mechanical engineering/manufacturing fields. This project allows the program to greatly advance the skill set of the students to not only design the parts, but to see their concepts come to fruition through the use of high-tech automation and industry integrated technology. This will strengthen their entry opportunities in Kansas advanced manufacturing fields and drive innovation in regional industry throughout our 17-county Northwest Kansas service area.
"Being awarded this grant from the Department of Commerce is a game changer in many ways.” said Engineering Instructor Michael Zimmerman, “Not only will our students have access to new technology in the areas of carbon fiber & metal 3D printing, robotic welding, and multi-axis CNC machining, but the entire service area will have access to this technology as some courses will be available online and we will rely on community based projects to help deliver our curriculum to the students. This means that rural manufactures, community members, and regional high school students can gain access to the program as students or as project partners. “
For more information about the Engineering & Drafting Technology program, please visit NWKTC.EDU
Engineering Instructor, Mike Zimmerman, working in the current Advanced Manufacturing Lab. The Advanced Manufacturing Lab will soon expand into an 1800 sq ft space to accommodate the new equipment.