Project Details


To enable the ATE Community to collaborate regionally with industry partners, within and across disciplines, on the transformation of associate degree programs to prepare US technicians for the work of the future

National Science Foundation and the Future of Work

Because of the rapid technological changes taking place, the National Science Foundation established “Future of Work at the Human Technology Frontier” as one of its 10 Big Ideas. This collective vision prioritizes NSF investments that “push forward the frontiers of U.S. research and provide innovative approaches to solve some of the most pressing problems the world faces.”

Advanced Technological Education

NSF’s Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program remains at the forefront of STEM technician education. NSF recognizes that the ongoing transformation of the workplace means that in the very near future America’s technicians will need to navigate and troubleshoot processes involving artificial intelligence, the Internet-of-things, cybersecurity, advanced robotics, digital design and prototyping, and the many ways these and other advanced technologies interact.

Center for Occupational Research & Development (CORD)

The project is led by CORD, a national nonprofit organization with a forty-year history of helping educators and workforce development professionals prepare learners for success in college and careers. Through this project, CORD is helping to transform technician education by facilitating regional activities across the nation involving industry partners, faculty and administrators at two-year colleges, workforce development professionals, and ATE community leaders.

Supporting the Technicians of the Future — Why It’s Important

The Future of Work is already here. Rapidly accelerating advancements in technology require cross-disciplinary workers who are equipped to function within diverse platforms and systems that formerly belonged to single industry sectors but have become increasingly interrelated. The workplace of the future will require technicians who are able to navigate complex workplace environments in which existing jobs are constantly evolving and new jobs are being created.

What We Hope to Achieve

In fulfillment of our project goals, we are:

  • Identifying new levels of understanding of the future technician’s role
  • Providing detailed knowledge of cross-discipline and emerging-discipline issues relative to the future of work
  • Developing recommendations and resources for updating STEM technical programs
  • Identifying industry’s perception of the future of work and implications for technician education
  • Identifying new technologies impacting technician education
  • Fostering regional collaborative networks addressing instructional issues related to work of the future