WSU is advancing Washington industries …
WSU teams with aviation to develop sustainable aviation biofuels …
WSU partners to develop bioproducts that reduce dependence on petroleum imports …
WSU works with state commodity commissions to conduct needed agricultural research …
WSU developed the technology used for wood-plastic composites used for buildings …
WSU researchers work to improve dairy productivity and reduce disease …
WSU research has made Washington one of the world’s most productive wheat-growing regions …

In the News

Support NextGen Engineering: WSU answers a state need

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WSU is requesting five million dollars this legislative session to increase the production of ready-to-work engineers, help maintain the state of Washington’s dominance in advanced manufacturing and foster ongoing sector growth. We make it easy for you to take action right now, but if you would like to be inspired even more to help WSU support advanced manufacturing, this is your blog post! Learn how WSU’s proposal to the legislature is designed to align with the needs, offer solutions and further support the goals of Washington Competes initiative.

A HIGHLY SKILLED WORKFORCE AND TARGETED RESEARCH: MEETING THE CHALLENGES OF THE 21ST CENTURY ADVANCED MANUFACTURING IN WASHINGTON STATE

Advanced manufacturing is an important economic force in the state of Washington, accounting for nine percent of the state’s total employment. Aerospace manufacturing alone employs more than 93,000 people through approximately 1350 related companies located in 35 of Washington’s 39 counties. In the North Puget Sound Manufacturing Corridor, world leaders in aerospace, clean energy, electronics, medical technologies, maritime, food processing, and robotics account for over 63,000 “high tech” manufacturing jobs, more than 220 high tech manufacturing suppliers, and 46,000 aerospace employees. The corridor boasts the highest concentration of manufacturing jobs in the state of Washington: over twice the number of the state average.

SPECIALIZED WORKFORCE – DEMAND FOR HIGHLY EDUCATED EMPLOYEES

Washington leads the nation in the creation of STEM-related jobs (science, technology, engineering, and math) jobs, due in part to the state’s thriving advanced manufacturing sector. However, according to the Washington Roundtable, 25,000 jobs, most in the STEM disciplines that support advanced manufacturing, went unfilled in 2013 due to a lack of qualified candidates. Forty percent of companies reported moving positions out of state based on difficulty filling positions requiring STEM-based skill sets. Further, forty-eight percent of the current Washington-based Boeing workforce, which totals nearly 80,000, is eligible for retirement by 2020, including thousands of engineers who will need to be replaced in King County. Unfortunately, the local supply of new engineering graduates and existing unemployed skilled workers is expected to meet just over fifty percent of the demand in manufacturing occupations over the next 10 years (see Figure 1, below). This gap is likely to be even more expansive in Snohomish, Skagit, and Island counties.

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ENGINEERS FOR ADVANCED MANUFACTURING

To thrive in advanced manufacturing and fulfill the job opportunities, engineering graduates need to possess 21st century skills ranging from creativity to analytical thinking in areas of production, engineering or designing (see Figure 2 below, describing engineering attributes as defined by The Boeing Company).

Hardware and software computing skills are essential to master information technology. Multi-disciplinary experiences that create a systems perspective are imperative to understand design and manufacturing processes. Finally, hands-on, real world experiences are critical to help graduates work independently, yet cooperatively in teams that are vital to “high tech” manufacturing processes. Given the pace of innovations, graduates also need the ability to adapt rapidly to major change and experience the confidence that comes with embracing being a life-long learner.

INNOVATION AND NEW MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGIES

The North Puget Sound Manufacturing Corridor is well positioned to further capitalize on the concentration of key advanced manufacturing industries. There is a need to “fast track” innovative technologies to full-scale manufacturing in industries poised to take advantage of composites and other advanced material. To speed up the time between a new discovery or invention, there is an opportunity to locate a specially designed facility that provides the space and equipment to test and refine innovations. Such a facility would provide services to current and emerging entrepreneurs & businesses in the North Puget Sound, and provide intensive hands-on training for students in an energized environment of entrepreneurial activity. Such a facility could not only assist existing businesses but will potentially help create new businesses through commercialization.

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A Solution

WSU – OVER 125 YEARS OF SERVING THE STATE’S NEEDS

Since 1890, WSU has bestowed more than 20,0000 engineering and architecture degrees. The Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture (Voiland CEA) currently has over 4500 full and part- time undergraduate and graduate students matriculated in a suite of engineering degree programs. Classes, labs, and projects ensure hands-on experience for WSU engineering students across the state in Pullman, the Tri-Cities, Vancouver, Bremerton, and Everett as well through online learning programs. WSU also brings integrative academic and research expertise in supply chain management and entrepreneurship through the Carson College of Business, applied mathematics and science and data analytics through the College of Arts and Sciences, and business-oriented communications programs through the Murrow College of Communications.

WSU NORTH PUGET SOUND AT EVERETT

Since officially opening in 2014, WSU North Puget Sound at Everett (WSU NPSE) offers bachelor’s degrees in mechanical engineering and electrical engineering. Additionally, students can also earn degrees in integrated strategic communications and hospitality business management specifically aimed at teaching principles and skills that are highly sought after by companies. Planned programs to be offered in the fall of 2016 include software engineering and data analytics. Currently, student demand far outweighs available spots in mechanical engineering signaling opportunities to further grow degree programs. Thanks to the legislature, a new 95,000-square foot building featuring classrooms, laboratories, and meeting spaces will be completed in 2017, and located immediately adjacent to Everett Community College. The steady growth of, and increasing demand for WSU NPSE degree programs offered in partnership with community colleges will further address the state’s most chronically underserved region in terms of access to four-year baccalaureate degrees. With the North Puget Sound region communities being amongst the fastest growing in the state, WSU’s presence as a top tier research university achieves the following:

  • Supports the higher education needs of a growing population
  • Provides quality four-year degree programs specific to regional workforce needs
  • Enhances collaborative research and development opportunities in aerospace, advanced manufacturing, information technology, and health sciences

CENTER FOR ENGINEERING & SCIENCE IN ADVANCED MATERIALS MANUFACTURING– SERVICE FOR TODAY, TOMORROW

WSU is currently working with legislators and asking for funding to aquire a Center dedicated to building on WSU’s educational, research, and technical engagement expertise to meet advanced manufacturing needs. Working in collaboration with aerospace and advanced manufacturers across the state, and headquartered at WSU North Puget Sound at Everett, the proposed center will support the sector by:

  • Offering fully integrated Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees and professional certificate programs that combine traditional engineering coursework for foundational knowledge, and real-world experience necessary for today’s advanced manufacturing workforce
  • Engaging in industry relevant research in areas like materials science and engineering, mechatronics, additive manufacturing, battery technologies, catalysis, and aviation biofuel
  • Providing a novel polytechnic environment that will build technical expertise through hands-on, experiential, project- and studio-based learning with a customer focus.

The Center will meet the workforce demands of one of Washington’s key industries by increasing the production of graduates that are not only ready to work, but also prepared for leadership roles. The Center will provide educational experiences that develop students’ requisite knowledge areas, abilities, and qualities enabling them to be high performing advanced manufacturing and aerospace engineers. Graduates will be ready to respond to global technological, economic, and societal challenges.

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INDUSTRY DIRECTED ADVANCED MANUFACTURING RESEARCH

The proposed Center’s research will include additive manufacturing, multi-materials joining, aviation biofuels, and battery technologies relying in part on various labs, schools, and centers operated by the Voiland CEA and located across WSU’s statewide system of campuses. WSU already collaborates with several partners, and the Center will serve as a regional hub to push the boundaries of manufacturing technology and innovation by bringing together academic and industrial researchers, along with student participation to help maintain a dynamic manufacturing base to compete in the global 21st century economy (See Figure 4, below).

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COMMITMENT TO PARTNERSHIPS – MEETING THE NEEDS OF THE ADVANCED MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY, CREATING NEW JOBS

The proposed Center is seeking innovative partnerships with companies to create student internship programs and collaborative research projects that can take initial discoveries and innovation to commercialization. These partnerships will help create ready- to-work graduates with cutting-edge skills, possessing both technical expertise and theoretical learning, while supporting commercialization of research and new company creation for job growth and industry diversification. In addition, WSU is currently developing strategic partnerships with international universities to provide additional educational opportunities and knowledge exchange for students and faculty to enhance global manufacturing linkages.

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