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Harford Community College Receives Supplemental Funding from National Science Foundation

28 September 2021

Harford Community College in Bel Air, Maryland has received funding from the National Science Foundation in the amount of $39,998 to supplement its Regional Additive Manufacturing Pathways grant for advanced manufacturing training.

The supplemental funding will be used to create a final, tech-centric capstone course that incorporates student-industry mentoring, self-direction and reflection, and an exploration of what it means to build one’s career. This course is being built in cooperation with local employers.

The capstone will also incorporate the concept of "leveling up" to increase critical thinking and soft skills to better prepare students to be a contributing employee throughout their careers. The concept of "leveling up," a well-known and widely used term in the gaming world that refers to learning to make better decisions to gain access to a higher level of skill, activity or environment, was adopted as an analogy to help students better understand that they have agency in developing into being a responsive, productive employee. An iterative cycle of weekly student goal setting, revisiting, and revision will support the acquisition of self-management and planning skills. These skills are the number one response that employers give when asked what they want in an employee.

Industry partners will also play a key role in the course; structured mentoring will be incorporated to increase workplace and sector awareness as well as guide students in how to manage and advocate for themselves. Finally, students will be required to reflect on their experiences, planning efforts, observations and workplace awareness to deepen their sense of ownership and agency as well as help them to deepen their learning.

Harford Community College’s Applied Technology Coordinator, David Antol, is the Principal Investigator for the project.