17 September 2018
I’m thrilled to be able to share with you ASNT’s success as a partnering organization to a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant proposal. In Spring 2016, ASNT was approached by the late Duncan Estep of Lorain County Community College (LCCC) to be a partner in designing a grant proposal seeking funding from the National Science Foundation. The funded project will expand the capacity of NDT education and enhance the preparation of future NDT technicians. Approaches to promote awareness of NDT technology and career pathways will also be developed and implemented, all to meet the nation’s changing need of a technical workforce. In addition to ASNT and LCCC, the coalition partners at the table include Chattanooga State Community College (CSCC) and Weld-Ed, with technical assistance from the American Welding Society (AWS) Foundation. As a sub-awardee of the funded project, ASNT and some of its members will contribute important work products and serve as subject-matter experts and in advisory roles.
I’m proud of the shift ASNT had made over the last three and a half years from isolationism to socializing and cultivating strong partnerships with like organizations that share NDT workspaces, industry sectors, and technologies. ASNT’s collaborative spirit and regular outreach to peer and industry organizations easily bring ASNT to mind when others think of organizations with which to partner. We have strong working relationships with AWS, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), and the National Association of Corrosion Engineers (NACE), among several others, including academic institutions. As the world’s largest society for NDT, we have an obligation to employ our reach and collective talents to shepherd the global awareness for NDT across all audiences, especially school-age students and those in career transitions.
ASNT is always looking for thoughtful ways to impart knowledge about NDT while being prudent stewards of the Society’s resources. Next month we will host another ASNT Day of STEM at the ASNT Annual Conference on Monday, 29 October. We are committed to the promulgation of NDT innovation and enthusiasm and closing the workforce gap that is growing ever close. The STEM events held at the Research Symposium and Annual Conference are among ASNT’s many efforts to immerse students in NDT through participating in hands-on experiences, touring the exhibit hall, and meeting industry professionals. Sections are also becoming more active in making partnerships with schools and education/technology groups in their areas to introduce NDT and be a resource for students, parents, and educators.
What does the funded project mean to you? As a stakeholder in the NDT community, you want to have confidence that new technicians have a cursory level of education and proficiency. For us to have new technicians to discuss, there needs to be a presentation of NDT as a viable career path and overall industry awareness in education settings so NDT is the chosen profession track. We all know the critical importance of NDT to keeping the world safe. We also know that even though we may have the passion, we will not be able to stay NDT professionals forever. The next generation of NDT professionals that enter the workforce should have consistent expectations of what their potential career path could look like. The job task analysis and environmental review funded through this grant will lay the foundation. The exploration of NDT should be robust. The project isn’t about building a program; it’s designing a replicable model.
There are many moving pieces to ASNT’s implementation of the grant funds. We are not doing this in a vacuum. At the Annual Conference, during the Town Hall meeting immediately following the Annual Business Meeting on Sunday, 28 October in Houston, ASNT’s grant leads Heather Cowles and James Bennett will give a presentation highlighting the key points of the grant. I encourage you attend and hear more about this exciting opportunity for ASNT and NDT.
As always, I welcome your thoughts.
ASNT Executive Director