CASTRO ANNOUNCES $763K FOR NORTHWEST VISTA COLLEGE NANOTECHNOLOGY WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT PROJECT
San Antonio, TX – Today, Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20) announced a three-year $763,417.00 federal grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for Northwest Vista College’s proposed Alamo Institute for Materials Technology (AIMTEC) project, which will address Texas’ urgent nanotechnology workforce development needs that the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board identified in its recent “Nanotechnology Forecast” report.
“Nanotechnology may be science conducted on an extremely small scale, but the field’s impact on our lives is momentous,” said Rep. Castro. “Thanks to nanotechnology, our mobile devices are smaller and faster, our medical treatments are more effective, and our energy resources are used more efficiently. The more robust our nanotechnology workforce, the more advances we’ll be able to achieve. I applaud Northwest Vista College’s AIMTEC project which will help nurture the next generation of nanotechnology experts and support Texas’ leadership in the field.”
The Alamo Institute for Materials Technology will create a self-sustaining and replicable regional workforce model that leverages local resources and partnerships to address industry’s need for quality technician education and training in advanced materials technology. AIMTEC will act as a regional hub for supporting the educational preparation of next generation technicians with skills in micro-nano-bio technologies; strengthening the transition points from high school to college, and college to workforce and/or advanced education through innovative student recruitment and retention strategies; and increasing community awareness of nanotechnology and available educational and career pathways.
“This National Science Foundation grant will allow Northwest Vista College to train students for careers in cutting-edge micro- and nano-technologies, as well as facilitate their transfer into four-year degree programs,” said Northwest Vista College President Dr. Ric Baser. “It will help us address the urgent community workforce needs for specialized, skilled professionals in the advanced materials technologies, which, in turn, will revolutionize the transportation, aerospace, biotechnology, healthcare and manufacturing industries.”
AIMTEC will demonstrate effective ways that two-year institutions can creatively establish and lead an interconnected network of seven to 12, four-year institutions, NSF Centers, and industry partners to meet regional nanotechnology industry workforce needs. Through collaboration with national and regional educational and industry partners, AIMTEC will establish micro-bio-nanotechnology curricula to produce graduates with industry-relevant technical competencies. Curricular changes integrated with student experiential learning opportunities will diversify student skill sets and create multiple career pathways into nanotechnology-enabled industries. Additionally, AIMTEC will pilot dual credit courses that will facilitate seamless transition of high school graduates to postsecondary educational institutions.
The AIMTEC project will also increase the participation of underrepresented individuals in STEM fields by providing nanotechnology training, research opportunities, and career development activities in a supportive environment at Northwest Vista College, a Hispanic-serving institution.