Undergraduate Engineering Courses Can Help Lead the Way in Advanced Manufacturing.

Undergraduate Engineering Courses Can Help Lead the Way in Advanced Manufacturing.

According to a recent report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, universities, manufacturing companies, and relevant federal agencies are being encouraged to take steps to better prepare the next generation of engineers for potential careers in advanced manufacturing. The report, published in 2022, emphasized the critical need for engineers with knowledge and skills in advanced manufacturing to enable a strong defense industrial base.

The report, “Infusing Advanced Manufacturing into Undergraduate Engineering Education,” examines advanced manufacturing techniques for the defense industry and explores how undergraduate engineering programs can better develop advanced manufacturing capabilities in the workforce. 

Thomas Kurfess
ASME Governor Dr. Thomas R. Kurfess and Governor-Elect Dr. Kathryn W. Jablokow both served on the National Academy committee to determine the extent to which advanced manufacturing technologies are treated in undergraduate engineering education, and to explore ways to foster the integration of such technologies into classrooms to prepare students to enter the workforce.

"Manufacturing is incredibly critical to the nation's economy as well as national security. This report discusses both the importance of manufacturing engineering in the undergraduate curriculum, as well as how educational institutions can keep pace with the tremendous technological strides in the manufacturing sector such that new and current generations of engineers will be able to successfully compete in and contribute to the U.S. manufacturing ecosystem,” Kurfess said.

Kathryn Jablokow
Recommendations range from the development of specialized curricula and additional paths through engineering education, for example at community colleges, to the creation of National Science Foundation- and Department of Defense-sponsored research programs, fellowships, and placements within manufacturing companies.

“New technologies are reshaping manufacturing in the U.S. and around the world," Jablokow said. “Incorporating advanced manufacturing into the engineering curricula will help us prepare future engineers to be more effective problem solvers and innovators in this new technological landscape. This report highlights key strategies and best practices we need to do this, as we make our manufacturing ecosystem more agile, resilient, and robust.”

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