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K-State News
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K-State Polytechnic receives grant for targeted skills development to advance manufacturing

Friday, Dec. 18, 2020

Polytechnic faculty

A grant awarded to K-State Polytechnic will assist the campus in offering smart manufacturing courses to workers displaced by the coronavirus pandemic. Faculty involved, clockwise from top left, are Mark Jackson, Siny Joseph, Michael Pritchard and Troy Harding. 


MANHATTAN — Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus has received a $398,100 grant from the Kansas Department of Commerce to support the needs of the advanced manufacturing industry in Kansas by reskilling and upskilling workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

K-State Polytechnic will use the funds to purchase equipment to upgrade and expand instructional offerings related to information technology and advanced manufacturing. Training equipment will also allow for the development of apprenticeship degree programs in areas of advanced and smart manufacturing.

The principal investigators for the grant are all faculty members in the Department of Integrated Studies at K-State Polytechnic: Troy Harding, interim department head; Siny Joseph, associate professor of economics; Michael Pritchard, assistant professor of computer systems technology, and Mark Jackson, professor of mechanical engineering technology.

"The diversity of the disciplines represented by this grant team is a great illustration of the integrated approach utilized at K-State Polytechnic," Harding said.

"We are proud of our faculty for identifying this need and using their expertise to proactively create a solution to benefit the advanced manufacturing industry — as well as Polytechnic students," said Alysia Starkey, CEO and dean of K-State Polytechnic.

"The purpose of the Higher Education Advanced Manufacturing and Information Technology Equipment Grant program is to support the needs of advanced manufacturing companies in Kansas," said Jackson, the primary author of the proposal. "The program will also allow the campus to extend the same targeted program skills to secondary school partners, such as USD 305 in Salina, to further develop skills that enhance manufacturing pathways in high schools."

"From mechanical engineering to artificial intelligence, these funds will allow our students to tackle larger and more advanced projects," Pritchard said. "Ultimately, it will help our students develop skills that are in high demand."

Practitioners of smart manufacturing are responsible for integrating what's new in manufacturing with existing methods, processes and procedures. The combination of courses, certificates and degree options at the K-State Polytechnic Campus offers students stackable educational opportunities. Programs are built around a project-based education model, and on-campus labs provide students the hands-on experience with current technology used by industry.

"Success with grants at an unprecedented time of budget shortfalls highlights the importance of investing in research and innovative educational programs so we can come out stronger in the long term," Joseph said.

To learn more about scholarships, degree options or the enrollment process at K-State Polytechnic Campus, visit polytechnic.k-state.edu and contact the admissions office at 785-826-2640 or polytechnic@k-state.edu.

At a glance

A $398,100 grant from the Kansas Department of Commerce will help K-State Polytechnic will use the funds to purchase equipment to upgrade and expand instructional offerings related to information technology and advanced manufacturing.