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Advanced Technology Program - Lone Star Cy-Fair
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 FOR MORE INFORMATION
   Jared Cammon
   Professor of Engineering Technology
   Lone Star College - Cy-Fair
   Katy, TX
  Jared.A.Cammon@lonestar.edu

 

 


Lone Star College is one of the premier community colleges in the country and has provided services to the north and northwestern greater Houston area for almost 50 years. In particular our workforce technology programs have always been a large part of Lone Star’s mission. Last year alone Lone Star College awarded 9,912 degrees and certificates. Half of these degrees and certificates were for students who had completed workforce programs.

In 2013, the Advanced Technology program at Lone Star College Cy-Fair expanded due to demand and was moved to a new facility. This facility, The Cypress Center, is located only miles away from the I-10 energy corridor, where many energy companies have major operations. At the Cypress Center, hands on training equipment, a curriculum that focusses on technical proficiency, and an emphasis on critical thinking all comes together. It results in a workforce technology program that produces a quality labor force to help fill the needs of industry in one of the largest cities in the country.

The Lone Star Cy-Fair advanced technology programs are particularly unique because in the last three years a collaboration between the advanced technology and engineering departments has grown and developed. Normally workforce technology programs tend to isolate students within their own specific field. It is an effort to encourage support between students and to decrease the time it takes to obtain a certificate or degree. Collaboration is only encouraged if it is with companies who are interested in hiring or if it is between students in the same program. Yet, we have found that collaboration with other departments does not have to be at the sacrifice of the interdependence and the speedy path to a degree that is emphasized in a cohort program for example. The situation is not an either or but a both and.

Over the past three years our technology program has provided an opportunity for volunteer students to participate in two simultaneous design challenges with engineering students. In addition to their normal course plan, they participate in the statewide Texas Space Grant Consortium Design Challenge and the national NASA Micro-g NExT Design Challenge. These experiences exposed them to an opportunity that provided many benefits. It gave students a chance to collaborate with people who come from a design perspective forcing them to work and reconcile this with their own manufacturing and troubleshooting background. It allowed them to deepen their critical thinking and complex problem solving skills by exercising them in a different context. It also forced students to develop their oral and written communication skills as well as their ability to work in a team. These collaborative teams were extremely successful, resulting in many awards, scholarships, internships and job offers. The products created even drew the interest of companies such as Boeing and governmental entities such as NASA.

 

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