College Awarded $300,000 Grant to Develop Electronics Curriculum

Published 04.09.2003


Ample job opportunities and accelerated degree-completion times await students who participate in the integrated high-school-to-post-bachelor's-degree electronics curriculum being developed at Pennsylvania College of Technology with the aid of a $300,000 state grant.

Penn College's curriculum initiative supporting advanced manufacturing and opto-electronics is one of 11 Workforce Leadership 2+2+2 "Skills Greenhouses" grant projects being funded across Pennsylvania. The aim is to have participants move seamlessly from one educational level to the next, acquiring advanced credits along the way.

In the Penn College program, students may begin in 11th grade, either by enrolling in electronics courses at the College (taught by College faculty), or by taking courses for advanced credit at their high schools or career and technology centers (taught by secondary-school teachers). Students can receive up to 15 credits toward an associate's degree via the co-enrollment option and 12 credits through the advanced-credit alternative.

If the students opt to continue in the program after high school, they may complete a full semester ahead of their classmates the Electronics Technology-Electronics Engineering Emphasis associate-degree major at Penn College. If, after earning an associate's degree, students decide not to continue on for a bachelor's degree, they may pursue employment in the industry in such positions as electronics technician, service technician or installer.

The students who do continue on and earn their bachelor's degree in Electronics Engineering Technology at Penn College will be prepared for employment as engineering technicians, field service engineers, test engineers, application engineers, senior technicians, associate engineers, project engineers or systems-software engineers.

In addition, students who complete the Electronics Engineering Technology bachelor's degree with a 3.0 grade-point average or better may enter an 18-credit competency credential program in Nanofabrication Technology at The Pennsylvania State University. Penn College serves as a partner in Penn State's Regional Center for Manufacturing Education in Nanofabrication.

Nanofabrication refers to the design and manufacture of devices measured in nanometers (a nanometer is 10-9 meter or a millionth of a millimeter), such as in microchip technology for computers. Opto-electronics is a branch of electronics involving devices for emitting, sensing, modulating or transmitting light, such as fiber-optic cable.

Comprehensive secondary schools participating in the advanced manufacturing opto-electronics curriculum project include Jersey Shore Area High School; Central Mountain High School in the Keystone Central School District, Mill Hall; Montgomery Area High School; State College Area High School; and Williamsport Area High School.

Career and technical schools that will participate include the Lycoming County Career Consortium and SUN Area Career and Technology Center, New Berlin. These career and technical schools serve students from Hughesville High School, Montoursville Area High School, Muncy Area High School, Loyalsock Township High School, South Williamsport Area High School, Lewisburg Area High School, Mifflinburg Area High School, West Snyder High School, Middleburg High School, Selingsgrove Area High School and Shikellamy High School.

Students will have access to seven electronics labs at Penn College. In addition, they will be paired in a mentoring program with bachelor-degree Electronics Technology students.

In the summer before admission to the 2+2+2 program, high-school students will be able to attend a multi-day career-exploration summer camp at Penn College to assess their interests and abilities in nanotechnology and opto-electronics. The camp also will allow students to become familiar with the College campus, easing the transition process.

Between the 11th and the 12th grades, students in the program will have an opportunity to participate in the summer "chip camps" offered at the Penn State Nanofabrication Facility in University Park, learning firsthand about basic nanofabrication processes and applications.

In the advanced-credit curriculum option, high-school teachers will work closely with Penn College faculty to align content and delivery with that of the college courses. All participating teachers will attend technical-update courses over the summer to help them understand the content and rigor of each of the six college courses being offered to the high school students.

Penn College Courses to be offered to the high-school students are: DC-AC Basics, DC-AC Measurements, Introduction to Solid State Devices, Solid State Devices Applications, Introduction to Digital Electronics, and Digital Circuits Applications. Co-enrollment students may also receive credit for College Algebra and Trigonometry.

The "2002 Demand Occupations for the Central Workforce Investment Area," released by the Central Pennsylvania Workforce Investment Board, lists electronic technician and electrical/electronic assembler as occupations in high demand in the region. The 2+2+2 electronics-curriculum program will prepare students for success in these occupations.

For more information about the advanced manufacturing opto-electronics curriculum initiative at Penn College, call (570) 320-8003.

For more information about the College, call toll-free 1-800-367-9222, or visit on the Web.