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Pathway Focus of the Month: Electrical/Electronic Engineering


Potential Career: Electrical Engineer

As an electrical engineer, you could develop components for some of the most fun things in our lives (MP3 players, digital cameras, or roller coasters) as well as the most essential (medical tests or communications systems). This largest field of engineering encompasses the macro (huge power grids that light up cities, for example) as well as the micro (including a device smaller than a millimeter that tells a car’s airbags when to inflate).  As an electrical engineer, you might work on robotics, computer networks, wireless communications, or medical imaging—areas that are at the very forefront of technological innovation. (From Engineer Your Life, Electrical Engineer)

Job Outlook:  According to Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, this is an anticipated 8% growth in this industry, in addition to a high need for replacement of retiring workers—this will result in almost 2000 job openings over the next five years.
Commonwealth of Massachusetts Employment Projections 2004-2014 (page 3) 

For More Information: See Engineer Your Life, a great site with a focus on girls in the sciences, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc., or the Junior Engineer Technical Society

About BCC’s Programming: The Electro-Mechanical Technology career program prepares students for high-tech industries as technical employees who can work on equipment that uses both electrical and mechanical engineering principles.

Hint for Success: You’ll do better in this course of study with strong math skills.  To be successful, you’ll need a passing score of “C” or better high school algebra and in high school geometry.  Tech Prep students can work on this while in high school by taking free BCC math courses! This program is challenging so you would need to limit our outside responsibilities to pursue this degree.



A New Name for Tech Prep?

Just a heads up that the Advisory Committee is still considering renaming our Bristol Tech Prep Consortium name.  They are keeping in mind that the DESE made it clear that all formal writing (print materials, website) must include the full grant name (Bristol Community College Secondary Postsecondary CVTE Linkages Initiative) or at least “Tech Prep,” but they want to come up with a moniker that better represents our collaboration and activities to all stakeholders, including students, parents, high school faculty and BCC faculty.  We will solidify our identity in the next two weeks, after which we will have a logo competition open to all Tech Prep Consortium schools.  If you have any recommendations on how we can better brand the opportunities we represent, please contact Chris Shannon.

Changes Coming for Bristol Tech Prep Students

The year started with a bang for Tech Prep, and not necessarily in a good way.  Tech Prep students were enrolling at BCC in record numbers to take advantage of the “one free BCC course” program benefit.  This increase registration, in addition to growing availability to State Dual Enrollment courses, brought to light discrepancies and conflicting policies that confuse both high school counselors and BCC staff.  In an effort to simplify matters, Dr. Michael Vieira, Acting Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs, is considering several changes to the existing process high school students follow to access free BCC courses.  The one I can reveal at this time is that we plan to make free courses available to Tech Prep students one week prior to the start of the semester, rather than the start of the actual class.  BCC is working with several secondary-postsecondary linkage programs to develop consistent policies and standards across the board.  We will discuss this at length at our March meeting.

Predictions from KnowledgeWorks Foundation Blog: The Era of the Maker Economy

This Foundation focuses on providing funding and leadership for initiatives aimed at Our work primarily focuses on redesigning urban high schools, increasing college access, enhancing workforce education, and creating a seamless education system.  Their website is loaded with resources aimed to assist schools provide all students with an education that prepares them for success in college, career and life in the 21st century.  This following is an excerpt from their monthly Blog that tracks trends that may shape the future of education: 

“Today’s education system was established in response to the industrial revolution’s need for skilled workers, and schools are modeled on assembly lines that turn out standardized products. But there’s a big change happening in the way we think about consumption and production (the recent recession is accelerating this process, but it’s been coming for a while) that will require a new model.

Manufacturing and fabrication technologies, such as 3-D printers, modeling software, smart materials, and quick prototyping environments, are getting cheaper more readily available to small communities and individuals instead of only to large organizations. As groups gain the ability to design, build, test, and redesign both physical and digital artifacts, they create their own microeconomies.

Some of the effects of this change are simple:

  • building what you need instead of buying, and perhaps selling your own creations (examples include TechShopPonoko, and Fab Lab)
  • borrowing, bartering, or repurposing (examples include The Freecycle Networkcraigslist, and eBay)
  • freely sharing plans, ideas, and successes (examples include Instructables and SourceForge)
  • buying the basic 'starter kit' model and souping it up yourself
  • broading the definition of research and development by networking with each other, and performing research or customization for bigger organizations (one example is InnoCentive)

The phrase 'voting with your dollar' takes on a whole new meaning when your choices widen from buying a home heating system from Walmart to comparing alternative products from many small retailers, trading with your neighbor, collaborating with other members of your community to build systems ideal for your local environment, and inventing new ways to heat your home that don’t rely on the utility companies.” 

To read the entire blog, and to view other thought-provoking postings, go to the Knowledgeworks Foundation Blog


The Regional discussion slated for February 12th, 2009 has been changed to coincide with UMass Dartmouth’s Green Jobs Fair on April 29th, 2009.  The goal is to still have representatives from business, government, workforce development, higher education and K-12 gather to discuss green employment opportunities and training needs for the southeast region.  More details will follow as we get closer to the date.

Professional Development Opportunities



This grant-funded institute is from Monday to Friday, July 20-24, 2009 at UMass Amherst and targets Middle and High School Science, Math, and Technology Teachers.  Participants get paid $75/day stipends ($375 total), plus materials, parking, and lunches are provided.  Housing (new air conditioned dorms) and meals for those outside the commuting radius.  3 graduate credits available at reduced cost; free PDP's are also available.  The UMass Nanotechnology Summer Institute will explore the basic science and engineering concepts of the exciting new field of Nanotechnology, and will illustrate how they may be integrated into the usual math, science and technology courses in middle schools and high schools. The content and pedagogy will be aligned with the Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Framework. During the institute, participants will begin to develop curriculum units for their own classes. They will complete and implement these in the fall and report on their progress and results online.  An application form and additional information are available at the Nanotechnology Summer Institute. Teachers should also prepare a narrative statement of how they intend to use the institute materials in their classroom, and include in their application package a recent resume and a letter of support from their school principal or superintendent. The application package can be submitted by email, fax, or US mail. Applications are due April 1, 2009.  For more information, contact the STEM Ed Institute/stem, 413-545-1908, fax: 413-545-3697 or the Center for Hierarchical Manufacturing.

Boston Museum of Science’s 14th Annual Symposium on Biotechnology Education

Monday, March 30, 2009 from 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.  The target audience for this event is grade 7 - 12 educators; there is a $25 registration fee.  Join them for a full-day symposium on current approaches to biotechnology education. Learn from leading researchers, biotechnology practitioners, and experienced teachers as they conduct workshops on a variety of current and advanced topics.  Click here for more information.  There is a special web page set up for event registration.

Student Opportunities


2nd Annual SkillsUSA Cake Decorating Fundraiser

The BCC SkillsUSA team is bringing back its popular Cake Decorating Competition. This is an opportunity for high school students to showcase their skills in a collegiate setting. There is a $10 fee per cake entered (this covers the fee for a high school instructor to attend) and students with an ID can attend for $5 each. This fun-filled and highly charged event includes demonstrations and workshops. This fundraiser helps BCC students cover the costs of state and national competitions. For cake decorating rules or for more information, download the flyer. You can also contact Chef Gloria Cabral at (508) 678-2811, x2940.

Do Something Grants

Over the course of 2009, Do Something will award fifty-two grants of $500 each to help young people implement or expand a community action project, program, or organization.  To be eligible, applicants must be no older than 25 and a U.S. or Canadian citizen. Do Something grants cannot be used to fund travel costs, individual sponsorships, shipping costs, individual school fees, or fundraising expenses.  Do Something grant applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Grants will be awarded on a weekly basis. This is a perfect opportunity for socially-conscious student clubs or for a promising service learning project.  Visit the Do Something Web site for complete program information, including judging criteria.

Resources of the Month


Federal Resources for Educational Excellence (FREE)

Your tax dollars at work!  This site provides hundreds of free lesson plans and educational resources for teachers, with over 700 resources just for science topics. Federal Resources for Educational Excellence.

MIT OpenCourseWare

If you haven’t stumbled upon the MIT OpenCourseWare website, then you are in for a treat!  This site provides MIT course lecture notes, exams and videos for 1800 MIT courses—for free.  You can find a wide array of course offerings, including Engineering.  Be sure to click on “Highlights for High Schools” on the left-hand column.  You can also sign up for a monthly newsletter to keep you informed of new additions and other relevant information. MIT OpenSourceWare

Tommy Hilfiger Foundation CVTE Grant (Yes, you read that correctly)

The Tommy Hilfiger Foundation believes that For America to remain competitive in the global marketplace, we believe a stronger emphasis should be placed on exposing youth to experiences in education and career-related opportunities.  They prioritize grant applications that can demonstrate the following:

  • Target K-12 and college students
  • Expose students to career opportunities
  • Develop skills in new technologies
  • Leverage teacher/administrator, parental, and community involvement
  • Include hands-on program activities
  • Lead to comprehensive, systemic change on a regional and/or national basis
  • Involve collaborative partnerships
  • Demonstrate capacity to gain continuing support
  • Will result in dissemination and replication of lessons learned
  • Have broad and positive impact on diverse populations with a special emphasis on women, minorities, and at-risk students
  • Develop evaluation component with measurable results

Award amount: $10,000 - $25,000.

Deadline: April 1, 2009 for July 15th funding cycle.

Click here for more information or to apply.

Articulation Update


Articulation Days

This January, we held two Articulation Days, during which high school staff could schedule one-on-one time with BCC faculty to review existing articulations or to advise new articulations.  I was also available to meet with schools to discuss the overall process or to review articulations in general.  There were 4 BCC Departments represented: Computer Information Systems, Business Administration, Culinary Arts and Office Administration.  We had four high schools which were able to take advantage of this opportunity to jump start the articulation process: Greater New Bedford RVTHS, Old Colony HS, Bristol Plymouth Regional Tech HS, and Dighton Rehoboth Regional HS.  One school took advantage of this opportunity to get programming input as to inform their Chapter 74 application for a newly developed CVTE program.

The success of this event will lead to a similar event planned for the week of May 18th, 2009.  This next event is proactive in nature; we will use this time to develop or update articulations earlier so that they are that they are in place prior to the start the 2009-2010 school year.  If you need to contact me, my email address is Kathy.Bjorge@bristolcc.edu, or you can reach me at my new extension, x3460.