Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) Engineering Recruitment Grant

Grant Concept

Utah Valley State College (UVSC) and Brigham Young University (BYU), in collaboration with MEP-Utah (Manufacturing Extension Partnership of Utah) and the National Best Practices Institute (BPI), have submitted a grant to work with the Education Foundation of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) over a 2-year period to enhance a new set of integrated web-based tools (VIP-ER) to create an exciting, powerful and very innovative engineering recruitment, development and mentoring system for young people. The VIP-ER system was initially developed by WestCAMP and MEP-Utah in early 2005 to assist small manufacturers, particularly those in rural areas, to better assess their operational and developmental needs, develop a specific action plan, and then quickly connect to various resources needed to complete action plan elements.

Need for Online Mentoring System

Many potentially successful engineering students, particularly non-traditional candidates, become increasingly challenged and discouraged as they move through their secondary education years from the lack of adequate support, especially regularly accessible motivational mentoring. To successfully prepare for engineering careers or related occupations, students need strong encouragement and regular assistance from respected sources. Often a student's immediate circle of family, friends and associates lack the technical skills, knowledge and abilities to recognize or adequately nurture the engineering interests and talents starting to emerge. Having one or more capable volunteer mentors assigned to work through the formative years clearly makes a significant difference in a student's willingness to continue preparation and ability to eventually complete an engineering degree.

Action Plan Assistance

VIP-ER will enable students in grades 7-12 nationwide to register, establish password security, complete one or more online engineering career interest and skill level assessments, then generate a student and situation-specific action plan. Participants will use some of the artificial intelligence capabilities found in web application "wizardry" interfaces, store and also print/download their custom preparation plan documents, and then receive online counseling, coaching, motivational mentoring and task-specific development assistance to implement their action plan.

Leveraging Abundant Mentor Resources

As the baby boomer generation begins to enter retirement, it is composed of hundreds of thousands of the nation's finest engineers, mathematicians, teachers, computer scientists, counselors and other educators and technicians that have brought the entire world into the digital age. Many of these people are extremely desirous of "giving something back" to the institutions they already support and to the quality of the society they now enjoy. Developing VIP-ER as a nationwide engineering resource system is an excellent way to enable such volunteers to invest their enthusiasm back into the next generation of emerging engineers. Regardless of how much time such people can volunteer or where they're located, or even how narrow their skill ranges or interest levels may be, a national mentoring support system can connect them appropriately to students who are seeking the support they have to offer for whatever level of assistance they are willing to provide.

Learn More

If you have specific questions about the proposed SME Engineering Recruitment Grant Project, or would like to participate directly in one or more of the project activities, please contact WestCAMP. You can also access a more detailed 2-page "concept paper" on this website.

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