by Eric Lanke
The industry members of the National Fluid Power Association (NFPA) consistently cite a lack of qualified fluid power technicians as a critical workforce need for their organizations. To help address this need, NFPA will soon be submitting a proposal for a planning grant from the National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program for national Fluid Power and Applied Mechatronics Training Center. The planning grant, if awarded, will allow NFPA, its industry and academic partners to develop a robust proposal for a nation-wide technical training network of institutions interested in advancing the country’s fluid power and mechatronics technical education capability.
We envision several key elements in our ATE proposal. First, to increase recruitment of new students into the proposed Center, the proposal would develop a comprehensive high school engagement program, engaging with NFPA industry members to expose students to the exciting and rewarding technical careers available in fluid power. Second, to increase the quantity and quality of available training resources, the proposal would develop advanced fluid power and mechatronic trainers and curriculum at our partner technical and community colleges across the country.
We thank Alexandria Technical and Community College, located in Alexandria, Minnesota, who has already agreed to serve as the lead academic institution in helping to develop our proposal. We are now seeking additional technical and community colleges, interested in participating in this proposal and willing to provide a non-binding letter of support (reference sample included below). The sample letter includes additional information about the role of community colleges in this effort.
Time is of the essence, as the planning grant deadline is quickly approaching. Interested schools should send their letters of support to email@example.com no later than Monday, October 5.
This is a major new initiative for NFPA but, if successful, it has the potential to profoundly improve the quality of the fluid power technical workforce in the United States.
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Institution Letter Head
Jan Doebbert, Ed.D
Executive Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs
Alexandria Technical and Community College
1601 Jefferson Street
Alexandria, MN 56308
Dear Dr. Doebbert:
<Insert Institution Name Here> commits to the planning phase and full proposal preparation of the NSF Advanced Technological Education proposal led by Alexandria Technical and Community College. We commit to serving as a candidate for institutional partnership and subsequent implementation of the awarded Fluid Power and Mechatronic Training Center, headquartered at Alexandria Technical and Community College in Alexandria, Minnesota; a national consortium that leverages industry supporters to create interest and awareness of high-skilled careers to educate the next generation of the fluid power technical workforce.
We are qualified to serve as a core academic partner. <Insert a concise description of school, and its academic mission>. <Insert a concise description of existing fluid power programs, high school outreach and local corporate support or mentorship aligned with the proposed activity>.
We understand the proposed consortium is a key enabler to creating the next generation of high-skilled workforce candidates for the fluid power industry. The fluid power pathway suffers from supply and demand at all levels of training and education. Our mutual goal, through outreach, mentorship and education, is to fill classrooms with interested and motivated students and fill technical jobs with qualified highly-skilled employees who earn a livable wage.
We support the replication and dissemination of an industry-approved, evaluated common fluid power and mechatronics curriculum and training module to be incorporated into our core coursework. We support offering professional development workshops and outreach for teachers sponsored by local corporations, staffed with practitioner mentors. We support a recruitment tool for the fluid power industry to identify highly-skilled and trained employees as an outcome of the Fluid Power and Mechatronic Training Center.
<Insert Your Name Here>
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