NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State University’s Department of Engineering Technology hosted the inaugural Engineering Technology Symposium to connect students with industry partners and raise awareness of job opportunities in central Louisiana. High school groups and NSU students already enrolled in the program learned from a variety of speakers who discussed emerging technologies, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) education, innovative training programs and competencies needed in the work place.
“We are in the business of attracting students, educating them and send them on into their futures,” said Dr. Jafar Al-Sharab, head of NSU’s ET Department. He hopes the symposium, held in conjunction with National Awareness in Manufacturing Month, helped educate participants about advanced manufacturing and its impact on the regional economy.
Input from regional industry partners has played an important role in curriculum development for NSU’s ET program and industry partnerships have provided scholarship, internship and networking opportunities for students.
Organizing the symposium aligns with the Department’s mission of connecting students with industry to promote economic development in Louisiana, where high tech manufacturing is expected to boom in the next decade. There are currently an estimated 2,000 jobs in the central Louisiana region that need to be filled.
Students who attended the symposium heard from faculty at Northwestern State, as well as professors from the University of Louisiana- Lafayette, Southeastern Louisiana University and Central Louisiana Technical Community College; managers from JM Test Systems and Alliance Compressors and economic development leaders from Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance. Topics included automation and robotics, smart factories, industry advances, additive manufacturing and nanotechnology.
Also as part of National Awareness of Manufacturing Month, the Department will host a lab demonstration in the Engineering Technology lab from 5-7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 24.
Information on Northwestern State’s Department of Engineering Technology is available at engrtech.nsula.edu. Tours of the department are available to prospective students by contacting Al-Sharab at (318) 357-6751 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Cade Stepp, assistant director of recruiting for Technology and Engineering at email@example.com or (318) 357-4612.