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CHAMP grant yields new courses, equipment for MSU Denver

The University continues to foster advanced manufacturing workforce development with help from the CHAMP grant.

March 18, 2015

MSU Denver is part of a consortium of eight Colorado institutions that received a $24.9 million CHAMP grant in 2013 for workforce development in the manufacturing industry. PHOTO: Mark Woolcott
MSU Denver is part of a consortium of eight Colorado institutions that received a $24.9 million CHAMP grant in 2013 for workforce development in the manufacturing industry. PHOTO: Mark Woolcott

MSU Denver continues to do its part to supply Colorado’s booming manufacturing industry with qualified workers, including recently unveiling three self-paced Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs):

  • Technical Math for Industry for electro-mechanical, engineering graphics and machining trades.
  • Credit for Prior Learning that assesses work experience including military or similar industry training.
  • A soft skills curriculum covering communication, time management, teamwork, leadership, personal confidence and critical thinking to help students boost their employability.

MSU Denver has also created two certificates — Advanced Composite Manufacturing and Additive Manufacturing Engineering — that will roll out in the fall of 2015. And the Engineering Technology Department recently added new equipment including a composite molding machine, an electronic discharge machine and a 3-D metal printer.

All of this is a result of MSU Denver’s involvement in the Colorado Helps Advanced Manufacturing Program (CHAMP), developed to help train manufacturing workers that Colorado industries crave. The University is part of a consortium of eight Colorado institutions that received a $24.9 million CHAMP grant in 2013 to work toward ensuring that the state has capable workers for the manufacturing industry. Colorado’s manufacturing sector generates $17 billion annually, but many of the state’s 5,900 manufacturing employers struggle to find qualified workers and thousands of positions go unfilled every year.

Since 2013, MSU Denver, the only four-year institution in the consortium, has used its share of the CHAMP grant — $1.9 million — to strengthen partnerships with the manufacturing industry, improve its machining programs, add curricula and boost faculty professional development.

“Our participation in this program only deepens our relationships and understanding of industry needs for today’s workforce and the future,” said Dr. Mingli He, a professor and chair of the Engineering Technology Department.

Dr. He adds the new machines, courses and certificates all give MSU Denver students an opportunity to catch up on needed math skills for advanced manufacturing and future bachelor degrees in manufacturing technology.

“It’s giving MSU Denver the chance for leadership in advanced manufacturing across Colorado,” said Dr. He. “The manufacturing students in the area colleges will eventually come to [MSU Denver] to get their bachelor’s degrees.”

Sharon Fields Simpson, MSU Denver’s CHAMP grant program navigator, called CHAMP a “unique collaboration” between industry and consortium partners and said that MSU Denver is working to “accelerate certificates and degrees in manufacturing.”

University officials added that MSU Denver’s role in CHAMP also complements the Aerospace and Engineering Sciences (AES) Initiative designed to collaborate with business leaders in developing a state-of-the-art program to meet the workforce needs of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) industries.

Among the 27 CHAMP manufacturing partners that have agreed to hire MSU Denver graduates are Alfred Manufacturing, GeoTech Environmental Equipment, Ingram Machining, Techniques Swiss, Coors, St. Vrain and Intrex Aerospace.

For more information, visit the CHAMP website.