Sarah Boisvert has put her 30+ years of experience in the design, development, and commercialization of high technology products, digital fabrication, laser machining and 3D printing to excellent use as the founder and CEO of the Fab Lab Hub, the Co-founder of the New Collar Network, and the author of the book, The New Collar Workforce. In this episode, she shares what her research has revealed employers – particularly in manufacturing – are looking for and the new ways that operators and technicians can demonstrate skills competency. From her interview:
On the technical side, one of the most prevalent skills that people were looking for was digital skills. Today, if you’re running a welding machine, you also have to be able to look at a CAD design and determine what are the parameters…So, your operator has to be able to look at a CAD file, and be able to, not just have the G-code pre-programmed so that it fixes things, but be able to really get beyond that and to make the kinds of adjustments that will ensure good quality parts.
As an employer, if somebody comes to me, and they tell me they have a badge in running a CNC machine, I want to know that they’ve run a CNC machine, right? That they’ve been in the trenches. And they know what to do when…like, you’re running a metals 3D printer, and it catches on fire! I want them to know what to do! I don’t want it to be a theoretical exercise…A badge program has to have currency for the student and for the employer.
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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under NSF DUE #1839567. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.