Skilled Work Force Needs Infusion of Youth

Regardless of whether or not the Senate passes the bill that would limit which companies able to bid on public works contracts one thing is clear, there is a pressing need for more skilled workers.

  • 52% of Rhode Island’s licensed plumbers are 50 or older
  • 58% of Rhode Island’s licensed pipe-fitters are 50 or older
  • 52% of Rhode Island’s licensed electricians are 50 or older

Critics warn that contract-bidding bill could create problems

From the Providence Journal:

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A labor-backed push to restrict who can bid on public-works contracts could also create more work for the state, a study commission was told Monday.

The commission on apprenticeship programs and public-works contracts was created last year after a bid-limiting bill passed the Senate but stalled in the House. The group met for the first time on Monday for a presentation from the state Department of Labor and Training.

For two consecutive years, the Senate has passed a bill that would limit who can bid on state and local construction contracts worth $1 million or more. The contracts would have been limited to companies with approved apprenticeship programs that can guarantee apprentices will work at least 10 percent of the project’s hours.

Joseph Degnan, assistant director for work force regulation and safety at the DLT, said the state’s data show a prevalence of older workers in some licensed trades. Supporters of last year’s bill have argued for a need to provide a younger, skilled work force.

Of the state’s 1,954 licensed plumbers, 1,029 are 50 or older. Of the state’s 5,599 licensed pipe-fitters, 3,231 are 50 or older. Of 5,736 licensed electricians, 2,972 are 50 or older, Degnan said.

The DLT did not take a policy position on last year’s bill, but Matthew Weldon, DLT assistant director, warned that enforcement of the standard will mean more work for the department.

To read the entire story visit: The Providence Journal

For more information on New England Tech’s over 40 associate, bachelor’s, master’s and online degree programs, including Plumbing Technology, Electrical Technology, Electrical Engineering Technology, call 800-736-7744, 401-467-7744, or email NEITAdmissions@neit.edu

2014-2015 FIRST Tech Challenge Winners

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The top four teams advancing to the Eastern Super Regional in Scranton PA in March will be #121 Aquidneck Island Robotics, #154 Burrillville, #5030 Mt. Hope HS and 8129 Warwick Veterans Memorial High School. 

Team in the Final match were  

Winning Alliance Award

This award will be given to the winning alliance represented in the final match of the competition, usually consisting of three teams.

#154 Burrillville, #8129 Warwick Veterans, #121 Aquidneck Island Robotics 

Finalist Alliance Award

This award will be given to the finalist alliance represented in the final match of the competition, usually consisting of three teams

#4531 Mt. Hope HS, #6217 The Fellowship, #5030 Mt. Hope HS 

FIRST Judges Awards 

Inspire Award

This formally judged award is given to the team that truly embodied the ‘challenge’ of the FTC program. The team that receives this award is chosen by the judges as having best represented a role model FTC Team. This team is a top contender for all other judging categories and is a strong competitor on the field.

Top 3 Teams for this award were: #121 Aquidneck Island, #5030 Mt. Hope HS, #6527 N. Kingstown HS,

The winner was #121 Aquidneck Island Robotics

Think Award

This judged award is given to the team that best reflects the “journey” the team took as they experienced the engineering design process during the build season. The engineering notebook is the key reference for judges to help identify the most deserving team.

Top 3 teams for this award were #8129 Warwick Veterans, #6527 N. Kingstown HS, #5030 Mt. Hope HS

The winner was #8129 Warwick Veterans Memorial High School

Connect Award

This judged award is given to the team that most connected with their local community and the engineering community.

The top 3 teams for this award were: #6527 N. Kingstown HS, #6217 The Fellowship, #6891 Central Falls HS

The winner was #6527 North Kingstown High School 

Rockwell Collins Innovate Award

The Rockwell Collins Innovate Award celebrates a team that not only thinks outside the box, but also has the ingenuity and inventiveness to make their designs come to life.

The top 3 teams for this award were: #154 Burrillville, #4531 Mt. Hope HS, #8129 Warwick Veterans

The winner was #154 Burrillville 

PTC Design Award

This judged award recognizes design elements of the robot that are both functional and aesthetic. All successful robots have innovative design aspects; however, the PTC Design Award is presented to teams that incorporate industrial design elements into their solution.

The top 3 teams for this award were: #4578 N. Providence HS, #6527 N. Kingstown HS, #5030 Mt. Hope HS

The winner was #4578 North Providence High School 

Motivate Award                                                                                                                                                 This judged award celebrates the team that exemplifies the essence of the FTC competition through team spirit and enthusiasm. They show their spirit through costumes and fun outfits, a team cheer or outstanding spirit.

The top 3 teams for this award were: #6217 The Fellowship, #9009 Scituate HS, #252 The Wheeler School

The winner was #6217 The Fellowship 

For more information on the FIRST Tech Challenge or programs at New England Tech contact Erin Flynn at eflynn@neit.edu or 401-739-5000

Clash of robots puts technology skills to test

Fantastic story in the Warwick Beacon highlighting the First Robotics competition that took place on our campus over the weekend. Congratulations to all who competed.

via Clash of robots puts technology skills to test – Warwick Beacon.

While most were focused on the big New England Patriots game, the students who participated in Saturday’s For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) competition proved that they, too, were the weekend’s real winners.

“I would say the majority of these kids do not participate in sports,” joked Warwick Veterans Memorial High School robotics team coach Larry West.  “They’ve put a lot of time and effort into this, and this contest gives kids another way to compete rather than through sports.”

Hundreds of students and spectators filled the New England Institute of Technology’s Center for Automotive Technology (NEIT) building with Super Bowl sized enthusiasm. They’d come for a competition featuring deflate-proof wiffle and ping-pong balls, and tech savvy young adults who’d journeyed for months to engage in futuristic robot skirmishes.

“We’ve put over 150 hours into this, definitely,” said lead programmer Kevin Sanita of the Veterans team, which goes by the name Cane Bots. “It’s intense.”

The daylong event was a flurry of activity that made Star Trek’s faster than light warp drive technology seem slow and outdated by comparison. Thirty-three teams, comprised of 250 middle and high school students from throughout the state, met to showcase robots that they’d designed, built and programmed.

“Today our hope is that the students participating enjoy the competition while at the same time use math and engineering principals to win,” said Steve Kitchin, NEIT’s Vice President for Corporate Education and Training.

The competition gives teens programming and prototype development experience and problem solving and team building skills while constructing robots to competition specifications. Winning teams go on to compete at regional and national competitions for college scholarships. Dozens of robots filled the center, partaking in a series of contests with serious sets of rules and guidelines.

“We understand that ensuring that young people have opportunities like this, and begin to think of careers in science and engineering, are critical to the future of our state,” said Congressman David Cicilline at the event. “In addition to being great fun, watching [students] do this gives us a lot of hope in the future of our state and country.”

Warwick’s contingent of students was well represented by both public and private schools, with Vets, Rocky Hill School and Bishop Hendricken participating.

“This is a culmination of their four months of efforts in trying to put this robot together to accomplish these tasks,” said Hendricken coach Rick Notardonato, whose team went through three robot designs this season. Their robot’s name is Robo Hawk. “This is an opportunity for them to do hands on learning that they don’t really have an opportunity to do in any of their classes, it’s really big for them,” he said.

The contest pits teams against one another as their robots completed automated- and team-guided tasks. The competition was closely monitored by referees and judges to ensure fairness and quality.

“I’m an engineer, and I think this is so important for kids. I absolutely love it,” said Helen Greathouse, who served as head judge for the eighth year. “There’s a gracious professionalism that’s such a big part of this event. We like to see teams helping each other. One team gave another a new battery; they loan each other tools. There’s almost an alliance between teams that may have never worked together before.”

The contest saw tremendous excitement early on with Warwick Vets team stunning the crowd by performing exceptionally well during an early round. Their high score came in the “Cascade Effect” event, where robots collect and strategically place wiffle and ping-pong balls.

“We’ve had one competition so far and we’re on our way to our second,” said Sanita after the round. “The first one, the autonomous part didn’t go exactly as planned, but it was very close. We got good points, we got 384 points in that round!”

“Did you see what Vets did during that round? That may be a national scoring record, that was an incredible performance,” said Hendricken coach Notardonato.

While the competition saw the Aquidneck Island, Burrillville and Mt. Hope teams advance to the Eastern Super Regional Tournament in Scranton, Pa. in March, the Warwick Vets team’s success in the competition was recognized when they received the competition’s Think Award.

According to competition rules, the judged Think Award is given to the team that best reflects the “journey” the team took as they experienced the engineering design process during the season. The team’s engineering notebook, a log kept throughout the year, is the reference used by judges in determining the award.

“This competition is a cross curricular format. There’s English used, the kids have to maintain a notebook for this, and math and programming go hand and hand,” said coach West. “I’m just really proud of the kids for getting together and working so well.”

Regardless of the final outcome, it was clear that all the students involved were winners for achieving so much from their positive experiences.

“I’d like to thank everyone involved in this, it’s been amazing,” said programmer Sanita. “Whether or not we win, it’s still amazing what we did, and it’s amazing what all these people here did.”

Read more at The Warwick Beacon.

$120 Million Expansion Project is underway

1-ExpansionNew England Institute of Technology continues to grow! Now entering the second phase of its $250,000,000 development program at the East Greenwich campus, President Richard I. Gouse announced plans for expanding academic facilities and programs along with the construction of the college’s first on-campus residence hall.

Phase 2 of the expansion project will include the following improvements:

  • More than 300,000 square feet of new facilities.
  • A new 400-bed, on-campus dormitory.
  • Expanded classroom space, focusing on information technology capability.
  • A new student dining area.
  • Expanded amenities for students including a fitness center.
  • The development of a college ‘green’ open space area.
  • Infrastructure upgrades to the college’s 226-acre campus in electrical, water, sewer, drainage, and traffic flow.

President Gouse stated, “This expansion will make New England Tech the region’s largest provider of collegiate level technology-driven training.” In addition, new and expanded programs will be offered that will include advanced manufacturing, health sciences, architecture, engineering, and Digital Media Production (previously known as video/audio production.)

New England Tech has recently completed several significant projects:

  • The creation of an information technology workforce training initiative dedicated to meeting the 21st century information technology needs of the region’s employers.
  • Accreditation renewal by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, through its Commission on Institutions of Higher Education.
  • Expansion of NEIT’s nursing simulation laboratory making the college New England’s largest and most comprehensive health science education facility.
  • Working with the Town of East Greenwich and the State Department of Transportation, NEIT has completed two major transportation projects to assist with traffic flow in the campus area.
  • Since 2005, nearly 12,000 students have graduated from NEIT securing employment with more than 4,000 companies, 2000 of them in Rhode Island.
  • New England Tech is proud to begin its 75th year of operation and will mark this milestone with anniversary events throughout the year.

President Gouse concluded, “On behalf of our entire college community, I am pleased to announce this commitment to our students, faculty and staff. The first two phases in our campus development will represent a $250 million dollar investment in Rhode Island and our host community, East Greenwich. This economic development investment will place our college at the most advanced levels of workforce training for 21st century employment.”

New Automation Lab Is Now Open

New England Tech has collaborated with Rockwell Automation, Inc., Marlborough, Massachusetts division, in the development of a new automation lab for students enrolled in the college’s Bachelor of Science Degree program in Electrical Engineering Technology (ELT). Rockwell Automation’s personnel and New England Tech faculty worked together to procure the equipment needed to create six new work stations. Through hands-on learning, students will acquire the high tech automation and process control skills required in the manufacturing industry.  

NEIT has also added the Instron 5982 Advanced Mechanical Testing System to train students in the Civil Engineering and Mechanical Engineering Technologies. Using this equipment, students can evaluate mechanical properties of materials and components used in a variety of industries such as automotive, aerospace, and major highway/bridge construction. 

For more information on New England Tech’s over 40 associate, bachelor’s, master’s and online degree programs, call 800-736-7744, 401-467-7744, or email NEITAdmissions@neit.edu

 

NEIT gets Grant from the Champlin Foundations

NEIT_Logo_282_136_TAGEast Greenwich, RI – Douglas H. Sherman, Senior Vice President and Provost, at New England Institute of Technology (NEIT), announced that the college has received a Grant for approximately $155,000 from The Champlin Foundations. Established in 1932, The Champlin Foundations is a philanthropic organization with interests in education, hospitals, healthcare, conservation, social services, and cultural groups to name a few. The Grant will be used to purchase laboratory equipment for NEIT’s programs in Medical Laboratory Technology and Electrical Engineering Technology.

“This Grant will allow New England Tech to further enhance our high-tech laboratories giving students the opportunity to learn the necessary skills required in their field of study utilizing cutting  edge equipment,” stated Sherman.  “We are very grateful to the Champlin Foundations for their continued generosity in supporting New England Tech’s mission of providing our students with a quality hands-on technical education.”

Under the leadership of President Richard I. Gouse, New England Institute of Technology is a private, non-profit technical college with an enrollment of more than 3,000 students and is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc. Founded in 1940, the college offers associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and on-line degrees in more than 40 technical and business programs. Each degree program is taught with a proven combination of technical expertise coupled with hands-on learning.

Welcome, Liz Robberson

Liz RobbersonLiz Robberson has joined NEIT’s Office of Student Support Services with an extensive background in career counseling. She previously served as the School to Career Coordinator at William M. Davies, Jr. Career and Technical High School as well as the Senior Career Educator and Communications and Marketing Project Coordinator at Johnson & Wales University.

Liz’s educational background includes a Master’s Degree in Education in Teaching and Learning from Johnson & Wales University and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English/Secondary Education from Rhode Island College.

She will be assisting students enrolled in the following technologies: Architectural Building, Civil Engineering, Construction Management, Cyber Security, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering, Electronic Systems Engineering, Information Technology (Bachelor’s and Master’s level), Interior Design and Respiratory Care.

 

Equipment Expansion in Engineering Programs

New England Tech has collaborated with Rockwell Automation, Inc. in the development of a new automation lab for students enrolled in the Bachelor of Science Degree program in Electrical Engineering Technology (ELT) beginning in the 2014 fall quarter. These students will learn high tech skills on the latest equipment found in industry. Rockwell Automation personnel and New England Tech faculty worked together to procure the Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC’s) network and drive hardware needed to create six new work stations. Through hands-on learning, students will acquire the high tech automation and process control skills required in the manufacturing industry.

NEIT has also added the Instron 5982 Advanced Mechanical Testing System to its extensive equipment inventory for students in the Civil Engineering and Mechanical Engineering Technologies. The Instron 5982 provides students the opportunity to evaluate mechanical properties of materials and components used in a variety of industries. Typically found in commercial settings, the Instron 5982 is utilized in many industries such as automotive, aerospace, and major highway/bridge construction, to test materials used in manufacturing various products.

If you would like additional information about any of New England Tech’s over 40 Associate, Bachelor’s, Master’s and online degree programs, including Electrical Engineering Technology or Civil Engineering Technology, contact the Admissions Office at 800-736-7744 or email NEITAdmissions@neit.edu

More Information | Apply Now

 

Tech First at FIRST Tech

Great blog story about FIRST and the importance of STEM fields from Congressman Jim Langevin.

From Fall 2014 Congressman Jim Langevin:

Tech First at FIRST Tech

It is a joy to attend FIRST robotics competitions each year, to watch the program grow into the towering success that it is today, and to see the interest and participation increase year to year. These programs are vital to spurring interest in the fields of science, math, engineering and technology.

As co-chair of the Congressional Career and Technical Education Caucus, I continually advocate for programs that increase enrollment in STEM fields. Closing the skills gap by giving students and workers the tools to succeed in the modern economy is how we will create an economy built to last. FIRST is one of my favorite student outreach programs, and it has already inspired countless students to pursue careers in STEM. For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, or FIRST as it is known, was founded by my friend Dean Kamen – a brilliant innovator who uses his ideas to push the boundaries of health care, science and technology. Among his many distinguished achievements, he has invented the first portable insulin pump, an advanced robotic arm, the Segway and my personal IBOT wheelchair.

Dean can now add teacher to his resume, as the FIRST competition has done an exceptional job at engaging young people and getting them excited about learning. That enthusiasm is palpable. I couldn’t believe how excited the students were at the FIRS

via Fall 2014 | Congressman Jim Langevin.

A view from Warwick: Wind turbine generates energy and curiosity

Wow.  I can’t believe it has been five years already.  Seems like yesterday the wind turbine was being put up.  Check out this nice story from the Providence Journal about our wind turbine.

A view from Warwick: Wind turbine generates energy and curiosity

 The Providence Journal

When the wind turbine just off Route 95 at the New England Institute of Technology automotive campus isn’t turning, it’s not for academic reasons.

The wind has to blow at least 7.8 mph for the blades to turn.

Or the wind could be blowing too hard. “When it reaches 56 mph, it brakes,” said Michael Petit, chairman of the electrical technology department, who helped develop the institute’s green technology program.

Another time the blades won’t turn is when the tower unwinds itself. The turbine, made by Northern Power Systems in Vermont, automatically turns. “It will spin and circle with the wind,” Petit said. After four or five turns, “it will stop and rotate the other way so the cable doesn’t get twisted around.”

The tower spins so slowly that “you wouldn’t notice it, driving by,” Petit said.

Students don’t usually go inside the turbine, except for a peek. And they aren’t allowed to climb the rungs inside. Anyone who climbs has to be trained by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, and “it’s an expensive operation to get certified by OSHA,” said Petit, who is 60 and lives in Exeter. He hasn’t been to the top. “If there’s not an elevator, I’m not going. I’m the kind of guy, I’d get to the top and I’d forget why I’m up there.”

The turbine is run entirely by Northern Power, said Trevor Atkinson, a salesman and engineer for the company, which has its headquarters in Barre, Vt.

On its website, New England Tech has a link to an animated drawing that shows how fast the wind is blowing and whether electricity is flowing from the turbine to the automotive building, or, if the turbine isn’t moving, from the power grid to the automotive building. (See for yourself here.)

The turbine rarely makes more energy than the automotive building uses, Petit and Atkinson said.

“It’s not in a real good wind spot,” Petit said. “It’s not there to make money.”

It’s there for demonstration.

When it first went up, in August 2009, “people stopped along the highway to look at it,” Petit said. “It’s educational to the public and students.”

Click the link to continue reading : A view from Warwick: Wind turbine generates energy and curiosity | News – Rhode Island news right now | Providence Journal.