Under the federal spending bill signed by President Joe Biden, New Jersey Institute of Technology on Thursday said it will receive $1.3 million for new initiatives that will bolster engineering education, as well as manufacturing and mechatronics apprenticeship training.
The two new NJIT initiatives include the community college pre-engineering network initiative, which will develop community college-serving programs to strengthen the pathway and readiness for traditionally underserved students to pursue a science, technology, engineering and mathematics degree.
Also included is the advanced manufacturing and mechatronics workforce development initiative, which will provide upskilling to individuals from underserved and economically disadvantaged communities for in-demand jobs and will advance manufacturing capabilities throughout the state.
Proposals for both these initiatives were developed and led by principal investigator Ashish Borgaonkar, assistant professor in the School of Applied Engineering and Technology.
Samuel Lieber, Seyyedmoshen Azizi and Daniel Brateris of the School of Applied Engineering and Technology will serve as co-principal investigators on the advanced manufacturing initiative.
“As the state’s public polytechnic research university, NJIT is a longtime leader in preparing students and professionals to enter the workforce highly sought after and ready to make an immediate impact,” NJIT President Teik Lim stated. “We are thankful to Sens. (Bob) Menendez and (Cory) Booker, who continue to recognize NJIT’s impact on the state’s and nation’s economy. The funding for these important initiatives will open more doors for more people, and will yield a better and more diverse workforce. Talent is everywhere, but opportunities are not — we are fixing that.”
Anchoring both initiatives will be NJIT’s Makerspace, which features over $3 million in state-of-the-art equipment, ranging from industrial to small prototyping machines. The 21,000-square-foot center makes it the largest educational facility of its kind in New Jersey, and offers students a wide scope of hands-on learning.
“NJIT is uniquely positioned to provide exemplary education and experiential learning opportunities for engineers and technologists,” Moshe Kam, dean of NJIT’s Newark College of Engineering, said. “The Makerspace at NJIT is a rich resource for engineers, designers, manufacturing professionals and skilled tradespeople, and offers a direct link to the equipment and processes found in industry.”