This project will take a deep dive into the impacts of community college manufacturing programs on regional economic development. The $2 Million, 4-year project is funded by the National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education (NSF ATE). The study’s guiding hypothesis is that ATE, and community college technician education programs in general form an infrastructure that creates both a workforce of skilled technicians and an ecosystem of innovation. These two outcomes, when injected into the economy, increase workplace productivity and innovation, thus spurring regional economic development.
To achieve its goals, this research project is taking a multiprong approach. It will review the NSF ATE projects funded in recent years; identify colleges that strongly connected to regional economic development initiatives; and conduct a national quantitative analysis of community college technician education and economic development interactions. Four regional sites have been identified for in-depth regional cases studies.