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

Leading the News


Rankin Technical College Gets $2.35M Federal Grant For Manufacturing Incubator.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/28) reports that the Commerce Department announced today that “Ranken Technical College has been awarded a $2.35 million federal grant to establish an incubator facility at its north St. Louis campus.” The Post-Dispatch writes that “the incubator facility will support the region’s manufacturing sector by providing pre-apprentice and apprenticeship workforce training, and encouraging entrepreneurial startups,” and the college estimates that “when fully operational, the center will support 100 student workers who will generate $4 million annually in products and services for local businesses as part of the integrated work-based learning model.” The article quotes Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross saying, “Reviving our manufacturing sector and ensuring that our workers have the skills they need to compete globally are key focuses of the Trump Administration. I look forward to seeing how Ranken Technical College will help budding manufacturers establish their businesses and train the next generation of workers to support the local economy.” The article also states that “the grant comes from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, a Commerce Department agency,” and adds that “Ranken previously said it hoped to break ground on the facility this fall and open by next summer.” The St. Louis Business Journal Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/28, Subscription Publication) also reports.

Higher Education

Technical University Of Munich Team Wins Hyperloop Competition.

CNBC Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/28, Clifford) reports on Elon Musk’s second Hyperloop competition, the final of which was held on Sunday, at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California. There were “more than 20 student groups” in the final. The team from the Technical University of Munich won with a pod reaching a top speed of 324 km/h. The teams were judged by creating a pod “that could reach the highest possible speed on the 0.8 mile test track” without crashing.

New Career Development Program: Streamlined Course Design
In October 2017, ASEE launches Streamlined Course Design, a new, instructor-led, interactive program, developed to streamline course design and produce effective courses. Led by Drs. Karl Smith and Ruth Streveler, this program is held over eight weeks, with four seperate 2.5-hour sessions. Register to (re)design one of your current courses with continuous input and guidance from expert facilitators and fellow participants. The ASEE members price is only $495. Learn more about the program on the ASEE website and join us for a free informational webinar about the program on September 15th at 2pm, ET.

International Activities
Learn more about the ASEE Global Colloquium in the Azores, Sept. 16-18.

See ASEE’s growing list of international partners.


Oracle To Hire 5,000 For Cloud Business.

Bloomberg News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/28, De Vynck) reports that “Oracle Corp. is hiring another 5,000 employees for its cloud software business as it fights Inc. for market share in the fast-growing industry.” The article adds that “the hiring surge aims to beef up what’s already Oracle’s fastest-growing business, increasing revenue by 58 percent in the quarter it reported June 21 compared with a year earlier.” Bloomberg also points out that “other major U.S. tech companies are touting their domestic hiring plans,” and states that “ Inc. has pledged to hire more than 100,000 workers by 2018 and has been holding job fairs across the U.S.” while “Apple Inc. has promised to invest $1 billion in advanced U.S. manufacturing, and its key supplier Foxconn Technology Group is building a factory in Wisconsin.”

Industry News

ChargePoint Plans IPO, Expansion As Electric Car Boom Continues.

Reuters Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/28) reports that “ChargePoint, operator of one of the world’s largest charging station networks for electric cars, targets an initial public offering within the next five years, as it expands further into Europe.” The company controls one of the levers for electric car expansion, as “demand for electric cars depends on a network of charging points, which utilities, engineering groups, automakers and start-ups are vying to provide and control before the sector takes off.” The article adds that the Silicon Valley-based company “operates about 40,000 charging spots in the United States and Mexico. It sells the stations to service providers and hooks them up to its network that can be accessed via a smartphone app.” The article quotes the company’s chief executive, Pasquale Romano, saying, “We will probably look to be public within the next five years.” Remarking on conditions for market expansion in Europe, Romano adds, “Europe is starting with a stronger political mandate.”

Modern Manufacturing Looking To Smaller, Urban Spaces.

Lehigh Valley (PA) Business Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/28, Pederson) reports that today, “manufacturers increasingly need smaller spaces,” and cities have appropriate facilities to offer “manufacturers looking for a place to grow.” The article quotes Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation President and CEO Don Cunningham saying, “Where manufacturing is today, the cities are very well-positioned to attract manufacturing. Manufacturing today takes place in much smaller locations. What we find manufacturers are looking for is 5,000 to 75,000 square feet of space.” Cunningham adds that the needs of manufacturers may dovetail with redevelopment efforts in urban areas. “Manufacturing is the biggest part of our economy in terms of output right now,” he adds, saying, “we are a growing manufacturing area, and we need to find space. You often need developers engaged to turn these sites around.”

Daimler Invests $27M In Modern Logistics Center At North Carolina Plant.

Trailer/Body Builders Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/28) reports that “Daimler Trucks North America broke ground on a modern logistics center at its Cleveland, N.C., truck manufacturing plant.” The article adds that “the new center, expected to be completed early in 2019, represents a $27 million investment, and will create multiple new jobs in Cleveland.” The article also states that the North Carolina facility “produces Freightliner and Western Star Class 8 models for sale in North America, along with the Freightliner Columbia and Argosy cab-over-engine models for the export market.” It quotes Plant Manager Henning Burns saying, “DTNA is committed long-term to doing business in Cleveland, and this is our next step toward continued manufacturing excellence involving end-to-end logistics. This is an important investment that helps further our commitment to efficiency in all our processes, which benefits both our employees and our customers.”

Engineering and Public Policy

Policy Document Reaffirms DOT Commitment To Autonomous Technologies.

Transport Topics Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/28, Mulero) reports a new Department of Transportation policy document emphasizes department officials’ commitment to ensuring that automated technologies across varying modes of transportation are adopted and implemented. Regulators with the office of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao outlined in the summary, “As new automated technologies are rapidly advancing, they carry with them the potential to dramatically change commercial transportation and private travel, expanding access for millions and improving safety on our roads, rails and in our skies.” The regulators added, “We will remain vigilant for opportunities where regulatory action can help strengthen and modernize our infrastructure.”

Elementary/Secondary Education

States Face Increased Teacher Shortages.

The Washington Post Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/28, Strauss) in its “Answer Sheet” blog reports according to data from ED, “every state is dealing with shortages of teachers in key subject areas” including math, science, language, English, reading, special education, history, art, music, and more. While “teacher shortages are nothing new…the problem has grown more acute in recent years” attributed to “low morale over low pay, unfair evaluation methods, assaults on due-process rights, high-stakes testing requirements, insufficient resources and other issues.” The Post reports that in 1990-92, California reported shortages in teachers for “only three subjects”, but for the past two years, it is reporting shortages in 13 areas. Similar changes have occurred in a number of states. The Post adds that some states, in an effort to lessen the shortage, have relaxed certification requirements and that in some district parents have filled posts.

Detroit Opens Renovated Technical Education Center.

The Detroit News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/28, Williams) reports that the Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) has completed a $10 million renovation of its Randolph Career Technical Education Center, which this fall “will offer skilled trades training to 300 youth during the day and 300 adults in the evenings.” The career center will provide instruction in trades that are in high demand in Detroit – “carpentry, masonry, plumbing, electrical, HVAC, CAD, heavy equipment simulation” – as well as entrepreneurship. The renovations covered classrooms, equipment, and safety materials, and funds were also devoted to instructional support. DOSCD Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said, that Randolph is “a great example of giving our students multiple pathways in order to be successful and reach their God-given academic and civic potential.”

The Detroit Free Press Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/28, Higgins) reports that in response to Randolph’s announced renovations, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said, “With the construction boom in our city likely to last for many years, we need to train every Detroiter we can so they can participate in the city’s comeback.” The Free Press adds that Randolph’s enrollment had fallen to 150 a few years ago, but that the school district hopes 900 students and 900 adults will attend following the upgrades.

Western Pennsylvania School Districts Increasing STEAM In Curricula.

The Grove City (PA) Allied News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/28, Petro) reports Grove City, Pennsylvania school officials are adding more STEAM to the curriculum, “one of six districts in the Western Pennsylvania Understanding by Design Collaborative to improve science curriculum and instruction.” The group is named after a book that “offers a comprehensive model to develop curriculum, assessments and instruction with the goal of giving students a genuine understanding of a subject in each grade level.” Coauthor Jay McTighe recommended superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Finch “bring more districts together so they could glean off of one another to improve science programs.”

Maryland District Adds Technology To Classrooms.

The Hagerstown (MD) Herald-Mail Media Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/28, Nowell) reports in Maryland’s Greencastle-Antrim School District, “technology got a boost” with “120 iPads and 300 desktop units” so that “kindergarten and first grades in the primary school will have three new devices per classroom, while second-grade classrooms will have four each.” In addition, “primary classrooms also received new interactive whiteboards, and teachers got training on how to use them.” Computers were purchased with funds from “a federal literacy grant.”

Tennessee School Granted Funds For Technology Revamp.

The Cleveland (TN) Daily Banner Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/28, Norkus) reports, “Cleveland High School’s Career and Technical Education [CTE] program was recently awarded a grant nearing $160,000 from the Tennessee Department of Education.” The grant, part of $15 million Tennessee will be awarding to schools to purchase new equipment, will be spent on diagnostic medicine equipment, “52 new computers to be split between health sciences and mechatronics,” and an advanced mechatronics system. CTE program supervisor Renny Whittenbarger explained, “Some of our equipment in our schools across the state is so primitive, it is hard for us to teach relevant technology.” Whittenbarger added that “consistent, sustainable funding” for technology “is vital to the longevity of our program.” Cleveland High School’s CTE received the grant after three years of pressuring Tennessee education officials.

Monday’s Lead Stories

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