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National Science Foundation renews funding for Macomb Community College’s Center for Advanced Automotive Technology (CAAT)

– Wednesday, October 15, 2014 12:00AM

Up to $2 million in grant funding will support CAAT’s focus on advancing education and training in advanced automotive technologies 

The National Science Foundation (NSF) renewed its commitment to Macomb Community College’s Center for Advanced Automotive Technology (CAAT), which is focused on preparing the southeast Michigan workforce for the emerging needs of the advanced automotive industry. An alliance between Macomb and Wayne State University, the CAAT drives collaboration with industry, academia and government to provide a spectrum of technically focused educational resources and opportunities in areas such as vehicle electrification, materials lightweighting, and automated and connected vehicle technologies.

NSF awarded Macomb a grant of just over $1.3 million to support CAAT through July 31, 2016. Contingent on the availability of funds and the progress of the center, NSF expects to provide another $673,349 during fiscal year 2017.

“Alternative-fuel vehicles, materials lightweighting and connected vehicles are more than a fad – they are the future of transportation,” said Joseph Petrosky, dean, Engineering and Advanced Technology at Macomb. “NSF’s renewal of funding to the CAAT affirms not only the center’s role in accelerating vital industry collaboration as the auto industry is engaged in transformational change, but it also underscores the continued importance of southeast Michigan as a center of the automotive industry.”

CAAT was established in September 2010, is one of 42 NSF Advanced Technological Education Centers and has received $2.8 million in funding. It is housed in Macomb Community College’s Advanced Technology Center, on Macomb’s South Campus in Warren, and has a satellite office at WSU’s Engineering Technology Division in Detroit.  Since its inception, CAAT has built a robust learning environment for students and educators in advanced automotive technology through leading systematic curriculum reform, facilitating course development and adoption, and cultivating increased levels of industry-academic collaboration.  Its updated mission is to:

  • Increase the pool of automotive technicians, engineering technologists and designers to work with advanced vehicle systems and their components.
  • Lead the way in collaboration among education, industry, government and professional associations.
  • Be a regional resource for developing and disseminating advanced automotive technology education.

As CAAT continues to provide seed funding for curriculum development, it will also be introducing additional programs and activities to build on the relationships and momentum created in its initial four years.  Specific initiatives include increasing educator access to industry experts by creating a webinar series; introducing new tools, resources and workshops to prepare and assist teachers at both the high school and community college levels; and reaching out to populations underrepresented in the industry sector. 

A number of activities will focus on addressing misconceptions about automotive careers by enhancing awareness and exposure to career opportunities in advanced automotive technologies to students and their parents.  CAAT will also expand its website – www.autocaat.org – with a student activities area and career options resources.  The center also plans to enhance its work with the Macomb Intermediate School District to provide work-based learning experiences, such as job shadowing, internships, field trips and mentoring, as well as offer industry professionals as guest speakers in high school classrooms and other career development forums for students. 

About Macomb Community College

Macomb Community College (www.macomb.edu) is one of the nation’s leading community colleges, providing learning experiences to nearly 48,000 students annually.  Macomb nationally ranks in the top two percent in the number of associate degrees awarded by community colleges and as the largest grantor of associate degrees in Michigan.  The college’s comprehensive educational programming includes pre-collegiate experiences, university transfer and career preparation programs, bachelor degree completion and graduate degree programs, workforce training, professional education and certification, and continuing education and enrichment opportunities.

Media Contact: James Melton, 586.445.7271, meltonj@macomb.edu