The Boeing Company recently appealed to Washington community college representatives to develop curriculum related to metrology and measurement sciences. Representatives from Boeing, the Center of Excellence for Aerospace and Advanced Materials Manufacturing, and Greysam Industrial Services (a local employer with ties into the petrochemical industry) toured the Olympic College (OC) Electronics Lab on Tuesday, March 5th.
Boeing stated that their metrology departments are divided between electrical and physical/mechanical positions, and although the majority of them are in the physical/mechanical area, the hardest to fill are in the electrical area. Although the required foundational skills for these positions are very different, a good working knowledge of measurement science is a common denominator to qualify a potential candidate for employment. It was indicated that the industry standard for measurement science has already been set by the United States Air Force Metrology curriculum. Any efforts at developing new curriculum should be as closely aligned with their program as possible.
In reviewing OC’s current Associates in Technical Arts degree, faculty member Craig Seybold noted that the first 3-4 quarters of Electronics curriculum is largely the same from college to college, but the quarters 5-6 can differ in their emphasis. As it is written, OC’s ATA degree offers room for an elective in Q6. After much discussion, it was determined that a 5 or 6 credit elective in Measurement Science would be a sufficient addition to the two year program to help qualify students for consideration for employment opportunities as an electrical metrology technician. Further, it was strongly suggested that metrology and measurement science concepts be integrated into all coursework throughout the two year degree. This last may be easily adapted into existing coursework, and may not require curriculum approval delays.
A Measurement Science elective would also benefit students in other programs, specifically Composites Manufacturing, Manufacturing-Precision Machining and/or Engineering.
Boeing is planning to tour other colleges of interest to discuss options. In the interim, the Center of Excellence will take the lead in facilitating a DACUM (designing curriculum) workshop. It is hoped that a common curriculum and a Measurement Science Certificate could be developed and utilized across all colleges partnering in this endeavor.