Collaborative Research: TRANSFORM: TRANSFORMing liberal arts careers to meet demand for advanced manufacturing workforce
Unlike technical majors such as engineering, unemployment among non-technical majors is high; 8.9% for Social Sciences and 9.4% for Liberal Arts graduates. Unemployment or underemployment of a high percentage of these recent college graduates is problematic for the economic vitality of our nation. These students do not contribute to the nation's economic growth through either their intellectual skills or their spending power.
In this project, Northeastern University and MassBay Community College are collaboratively implementing an innovative TRANSFORM model to retool the skill set of liberal arts college graduates to prepare them for careers in manufacturing. The project is enabling the targeted population to step into the advanced manufacturing jobs that otherwise go unfilled due to shortage of qualified job seekers nationwide. The TRANSFORM program is also increasing the awareness of manufacturing careers among members of underrepresented groups.
The TRANSFORM model is using the share-the-burden approach among the concerned constituents (government, industry and technical education providers). The modular, 12-month fast-track curriculum of the TRANSFORM program includes courses and internships. The industry-based internships are providing students with project-based learning experience to facilitate students' career transition. TRANSFORM is offering a scalable pedagogically proven manufacturing curriculum for liberal arts graduates that can be replicated at the local, regional, and national levels, and in other sectors such as energy. Social media is being used to reach out to liberal arts graduates on a broad scale.
The three guiding evaluation questions for this project are:
1) What is an appropriate model of self-efficacy associated with preparing the target population to confidently and capably enter the manufacturing workforce?
2) Do the various components of the program successfully prepare the target population to enter the manufacturing workforce?
3) What institutional capacities are needed to sustain the program over time?