ASEE First Bell – Breaking news in the engineering and technology field

Leading the News

Obama, Jill Biden Promote Free Community College, Apprenticeship Proposals.

President Obama and Dr. Jill Biden addressed a crowd of about 1,000 at Macomb Community College in Warren, Michigan Wednesday to promote the Administration’s push for two years of free community college. The event received no broadcast network coverage and minimal cable coverage, but generated generally favorable print and local television coverage.

The AP  (9/10, Benac) reports that Obama, “unable to have his way” with Congress, “reached back to his roots as a community organizer and sought Wednesday to spark a national movement in support of his idea for free community college.” The President and Dr. Biden appeared at the Michigan school to promote the $60 billion community college proposal. The President “said six states and communities have created programs similar to what he proposed during his State of the Union address earlier this year, including one announced by Milwaukee on Wednesday,” and similar legislation is pending in at least 10 other states.

The Detroit Free Press  (9/10, Jesse) reports the President said “giving students two years of free community college is simply an extension of America’s historical emphasis on the importance of education.” The President said Dr. Biden will lead a new College Promise Advisory Board “that will highlight existing programs providing free community college” and “try to recruit more states and communities to do likewise.” Obama said, “It’s easy for politicians to say young people are the future. But you’ve got to walk the walk. No kid should be priced out of a college education. No hard-working young person should be denied just because of where they started.”

The Detroit News  (9/10, Shepardson) reports the President “said workers must get skills to compete and warned it’s not enough to be strong and want to work, he said – either through college, apprenticeships or another credential beyond high school.” He said, “That’s the surest ticket to the middle class. Education has always been the secret sauce, the secret to America’s success.” The Macomb (MI) Daily  (9/10, Franz) reports Obama stressed the importance of apprenticeship programs, noting that “the average starting salary for a person who has finished an apprenticeship is more than $50,000,” and that countries like Germany and Great Britain have 15 times as many people in apprenticeships.

The Hill  (9/10, Wheeler) focuses its coverage on the apprenticeship proposal initially described by Labor Secretary Tom Perez who said that the department would award grants to “develop or expand apprenticeships in high-growth industries like healthcare, IT, high-tech services and advanced manufacturing.” All told the grants would “create 34,000 career-training opportunities.”

MLive (MI)  (9/9, AlHajal) reports that the President noted that President Reagan also spoke at the school in 1984. Reagan said at the time, “Our duty is to make sure, and we’re going to, that you have the same America of opportunity and hope and dreams and future that we had when we were your age.” Obama said Wednesday, “Ronald Reagan and I belong to two different parties. We have a different vision about how our economy can grow. But I agree with those words. In America, it should not matter who you are, where you come from, what your last name is, who you love, everybody deserves a chance to make it.” The Michigan Daily  (9/10, Plesset) reports the event was “the first stop of his administration’s nationwide Back-to-School tour.”

The New York Times  (9/10, Shear, Subscription Publication) says “many Republican lawmakers have reacted coolly to Mr. Obama’s plan,” and he “chided Republicans for threatening to shut down the government at the end of the month because of disagreements over spending and other priorities. But he urged lawmakers to work with him on the college proposals, a subject, he said, that has long had bipartisan support.” USA Today  (9/10, Baskin) reports Obama “noted that Tennessee saw the enrollment of 15,000 students in its own community college program this fall. ‘Not one’ had to take out a loan to pay for tuition.”

Higher Education

Students At Florida Tech Use Doppler On Wheels.

Florida Today  (9/9, Bonanno) reports on the Doppler on Wheels, brought from Boulder, Colorado to Florida Tech so that a “remote sensing class in the Department of Marine and Environmental Systems” may make use of it. The machine is funded by a National Science Foundation grant.

UConn Breaks Ground On New Engineering And Science Facility.

The AP  (9/10) reports “the University of Connecticut has broken ground for a new $95 million engineering and science building.” The project is being funded by “using $60 million from the 21st Century UConn expansion project and $35 million from the Next Generation Connecticut project, which is designed to expand educational opportunities, research, and innovation in the science, technology, engineering, and math.”

ASEE Annual Conference VIDEOS

Kai Kight
Dynamic speaker and violinist Kai Kight performs and talks about how he merges music and inspirtaion.

Maria Klawe
The Havery Mudd President’s keynote address focused on the school’s efforts toward diversity.

Research and Development

SpaceX Now Testing Falcon 9’s “Full Thrust” First Stage.

NASA Space Flight  (9/9, Bergin) reports that SpaceX is now testing “the first ‘Full Thrust’ Falcon 9 first stage” which is unofficially assigned to the rocket which will launch the SES-9 satellite in November. That will be the first launch since the rocket exploded earlier this year. The article notes that while SpaceX has not completed its investigation into what happened during the failed ISS cargo mission, these tests will help it “hit the ground running” when ready. “a solid schedule” should come within a few weeks, according to the article, which may indicate that the next ISS cargo run will come in December or even next year.

Robot Experiment Could Have Far-Reaching Implications In Space And On Earth.

Aviation Week  (9/9, Carreau), in an article titled “Earthly Implications Of ISS Demonstrations,” reports that an experiment where ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen controls a robot from the station may “have far-reaching implications for the roles humans and robots play in the exploration of Mars and other planetary surfaces,” as well as “valuable Earthly applications.”

Industry News

Boeing Boosts Production Of 767s.

The Wall Street Journal  (9/10, Ostrower, Subscription Publication) reports Boeing announced it would ramp up production of new 767s from 1.5 per month to 2.5 per month by 2017, in order to accommodate a large order placed by FedEx. Boeing expects 767 production to reach two aircraft per month in early 2016; the new 767s will be constructed at a Boeing facility in Everett, Washington. The Everett (WA) Herald  (9/9, Catchpole) notes FedEx’s order of 50 additional 767s placed in July was the “biggest single order for 767s in the program’s history.”

The Seattle (WA) Times  (9/10, Gates) reports a source said Boeing is in talks with UPS for “another large 767 order.”

Additional coverage was provided by Reuters  (9/9) and the Wichita (KS) Business Journal  (9/9, McCoy, Subscription Publication).

Boeing Forecasts Need For More Pilots, Technicians In Asia. Bloomberg News  (9/10) reports Boeing Flight Services Vice President Sherry Carbary said there is a “great demand for training” for pilots in Asia, particularly in China, as the manufacturer forecasts the region will require 226,000 pilots and 238,000 technicians by 2034. Across the world, Boeing anticipates the need for 558,000 new pilots.

Engineering and Public Policy

House Subcommittee To Consider Safety, Privacy Implications Of UAVs.

The Hill  (9/9, Trujillo, McCabe) reported House members are “slated to explore the safety and privacy implications of drones” on Thursday. The House Judiciary subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet will hear testimony from “advocates for privacy, the drone industry, insurance carriers, and realtors.” Subcommittee Chairman Darrell Issa said drones could lead to innovation, but the “expanded use of UAV technology requires that the public and private sectors work together” to protect safety and privacy.

Brown Vetoes Bill Making Flying Drones Illegal Within 350 Feet Of Private Property. The AP  (9/10) reports California Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a bill “meant to rein in the use of drones over private property.” Brown “said in a veto message Wednesday night that the measure goes too far in its restrictions.” The bill establishes a trespassing crime for flying drones within 350 feet of private property. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times  (9/10, Mason, Mcgreevy) reports Brown indicated the issue highlights that “drone technology certainly raises novel issues that merit careful examination.” According to USA Today  (9/10, Weise), Brown added that the bill “could expose the occasional hobbyist and the FAA-approved commercial user alike to burdensome litigation.”

UAV Grounds Firefighting Planes Over Utah. The AP  (9/10) reports a UAV flying near Dear Creek Reservoir in Utah “grounded firefighting planes” for about an hour on Tuesday. Jason Curry, the spokesman for Utah Division of Forestry, Fire, indicated UAVs pose a safety risk because they can hit a helicopter or plane. Curry said, “It shouldn’t have to take someone getting killed in order for the public to take this seriously.”

Carter: Pentagon Will Fund New Space Weapons And Innovative Programs.

Reuters  (9/10, Shalal) reports that Defense Secretary Ash Carter told a DARPA-sponsored conference that the Pentagon would invest in new space, cyber and electronic warfare weapons, as well as innovative research programs, in order to protect the US’ edge over China and Russia’s militaries. Carter stressed that there is a difference between proceeding carefully and slowly.

Report: US Must Cut Red Tape To Rapidly Address Infrastructure Needs.

According to the Fiscal Times  (9/10), a report by non-profit government watchdog Common Good founder Philip K. Howard says that addressing the nation’s “declining infrastructure will require a major overhaul of the government’s permitting system to greatly speed up the process and save literally trillions of dollars over the long-run.” Howard argues that the current regulatory process causes “huge bottlenecks in the review and construction phase” that places the nation “behind global competitors.” The report argues that the US should create “a new permitting system that limits” the government’s review time to 2 years, a goal that can be accomplished through “a simplified framework with deadlines and clear lines of accountability.”

Elementary/Secondary Education

Kline Hopes ESEA Reauthorization Will Be Approved This Year.

The Washington Post  (9/10, Brown) reports that House Education Committee chairman Rep. John Kline (R-MN) said on Wednesday that he remains “hopeful” that Congress will approve a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act “by the end of the year.” Kline did not give “a specific timeline.” He added that conferees are looking to “get the votes to pass,” adding, “The majority of the majority and the majority of the minority is what we’re looking for.”

Oregon Governor Promotes CTE In Visit To School.

The Coos Bay (OR) World  (9/10, Davis) reports that on Wednesday, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown visited Marshfield High School and said that its “Career and Technical Education classes should be a model for the rest of the state.” Brown “was particularly interested in the gender make-up of the CTE classes.” Principal Travis Howard “attributed much of the CTE program’s success to the eighth grade survey class,” which gives the students “an early look” at the program. Brown also said that the students in the CTE program are raising their reading and math test scores.

Louisiana Schools Promote CTE Programs.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune  (9/10, Simmons) reports on West Bank high schools that promoted their “industrial and technical career programs” to members of the Harvey Canal Industrial Association. Jefferson Parish Career and Education Technology Coordinator Lucy Lejeune “hosted the tours.” Engineering teacher Edward Bischoff explained, “students learn 3D robotics, engineering, math, science and applied physics,” adding that the program “is certified by National Institute for Metalworking Skills.” Other programs included a culinary program, electrical and carpentry classes, digital media, health care, cosmetology, barber, industrial technologies, and clothing and textiles.

Utah Report Urges Greater Cooperation Between High Schools, Applied Technology Colleges.

The Deseret (UT) News  (9/10, Jacobsen) reports that a report from Utah’s Office of the Legislative Auditor General found that while “some schools that offer career and technical education are trying to align their course offerings with what’s available at nearby applied technology colleges,” duplicate offerings are “still a problem for students and teachers.” Schools and applied technology colleges are encouraged to cooperate, but different schedules and distance can pose problems. Schools and colleges are urged “to align their schedules where possible.”

Wisconsin First-Grader Attends Class Virtually Using Robot.

WXOW-TV  LaCrosse, WI (9/8, Lake) reported Ari Martin, a special needs student, attended “class in West Bend without actually being there.” Martin “was there virtually because she has spinal muscular atrophy, a neurological disease that limits her mobility.” Participating from home, Martin “taps into a program that makes her appear on an iPad that’s connected to a mobile scooter she controls.”

Also in the News

US Job Openings Hit Record High, Employer Hiring Drops.

The AP  (9/10) reports that the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey showed that US job openings climbed “8 percent to 5.75 million, the most since records began in 2000;” however, “overall hiring slumped.” The AP notes that employers may be taking “a cautious approach” to hiring due to China’s economy, stock market volatility, and rising concerns about global growth.

Wednesday’s Lead Stories

University Of Michigan Announces Data Science Initiative.
UALR Wins Grant To Support STEM Training For High School Teachers.
Clemson Gets NSF Grant To Develop Improved Water Filter.
US Manufacturers Prevail Upon Parents To Hire Kids For In-Demand Jobs.
US, EU Approve GE Takeover Of Alstom.
Obama To Make Apprenticeship Announcement At Michigan Community College.
Detroit Priority School Adopts Aquatic Theme.

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