Our Work

A Framework for the Cross-Disciplinary STEM Core

The Framework for a Cross-Disciplinary STEM Core consists of recommendations for incorporating knowledge and skills in Advanced Digital Literacy, Data Knowledge and Analysis, and Business Knowledge and Processes into associate degree technician preparation programs. Topics within these areas have been prioritized by educators and industry as essential to work of the future, across industry sectors. The Framework is suitable for implementation, with regional customization, by any community college technical program. Preparing Technicians for the Future of Work advocates its adoption.

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Why It's Important

Technologies such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and robotics are transforming existing industries and creating new ones at an unprecedented pace. Skilled workers of the future will need to function well in the diverse platforms and systems that drive multiple sectors. 

The Framework represents a paradigm shift for institutions that provide technician education. Technician educators must be empowered to integrate multiple disciplines into existing programs and develop new programs that support emerging disciplines and occupations.

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How It Was Developed

Preparing Technicians for the Future of Work conducted a series of research activities designed to identify the knowledge and skills that will be essential for future STEM techniciansThe project team met with technicians, technician supervisors, and middle managers to learn how technology acceleration is impacting their jobs. The project also gathered data from national and regional convenings of academic partners and industry leaders representing a wide range of technical fields. Participants served as thought partners in framing strategies that could transform technician education to ensure ongoing regional competitiveness.

Data Knowledge and Analysis

Manipulating and interpreting data to resolve issues and using Excel and other common software proficiently to
accomplish tasks

Analytics tools
Computational thinking
Data analysis
Data backup and restoration
Databases
Data fluency
Data life cycle
Data management
Data modeling
Data storage
Data visualization
Query languages
Spreadsheets
Statistics

Advanced Digital Literacy

Understanding digital communications and networking, cybersecurity, machine learning, sensors, programming, and robotics at a higher than introductory level

Artificial intelligence/machine learning
Automation/robotics
Basic programming
Cloud literacy
Digital fluency
Digital twins
Edge computing
Function block diagram programming
Human-Machine Interface (HMI)
Internet of Things (IoT)
Network architecture
Network communication
Security controls

Business Knowledge and Processes

Understanding the value chain and business practices of an enterprise and applying principles of ethical adoption of new technologies 

Business Cycles
Blockchain
Communication
Continuous process improvement
Customer/stakeholder analysis
Entrepreneurship
Ethics
Lean processes
Logistical chains
Market trends
Overall Equipment Efficiency (OEE)
Return on Investment (ROI)
Risk management
Supply and demand
Vertical and horizontal integration