Story by Joanna Bradley on 01/17/2019REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (Jan. 17, 2018) Partnering with local schools is a top priority for the U.S. Army Research, Development, and Engineering Command, Aviation and Missile Center.
Four superintendents from local education systems met with leadership from the Aviation and Missile Center to discuss how the entities can continue to develop outreach programs.
"We have a lot of engagement with [local] school systems, and I am looking for ways that we can encourage even more [engagement] as we move forward," said Dr. Juanita M. Christensen, Aviation & Missile Center executive director.
The Center holds an active educational partnership agreement with Huntsville City Schools. The EPA was signed in 2013 with an original focus on the Army Games Studio, located within the Systems Simulation, Software and Integration Directorate, but was updated in 2016 to include additive manufacturing and composites. The goal of the five-year agreement is to develop and mature science, technology, and engineering talent in the local community.
The Prototype Integration Facility, part of the Aviation & Missile Center, provides technical guidance and mentoring to students throughout the greater Huntsville area, which has become pivotal in students reaching their goals. The PIF has partnered with Jemison High School to service their Stratsys Fortus 450 Polymer additive machine, and has also supported Grissom High School through mentoring to develop work procedures for their AutoClave, a composites machine.
"The side-by-side, the coaching piece, has been really instrumental in decision-making for our students," said Christie Finley, Huntsville City Schools superintendent.
Enabling students to do real work allows them the opportunity to make better-informed decisions about their future.
"By reaching out to your schools, it helps us to create a more diverse pool of students to pull from," Christensen said, acknowledging the need to address concerns of an aging workforce by requiring organizations to begin recruiting students at an even earlier age, making developing opportunities for internships all the more pertinent.
By continuing to grow partnerships with local schools, the Center, schools and students will benefit greatly.
The Aviation & Missile Center is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to provide innovative research, development and engineering to produce capabilities that provide decisive overmatch to the Army against the complexities of the current and future operating environments in support of the joint Warfighter and the nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.