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Systems Engineering curriculum moves into next phase with $1.8 million DoD award

In partnership with Calhoun Community College and Auburn University, Victory Solutions, headquartered in Huntsville, has created a new Huntsville workforce training program that better addresses today’s digital engineering gap in aerospace and defense development.

The Institute for Digital Enterprise Advancement (IDEA) is a non-profit national collaborative center that supports digital engineering education. Its new workforce development program is taking the next steps in fulfilling its challenge of accelerating the growth of a competent engineering technical workforce that is equipped with the skills needed to meet employer demand.

These employees will be capable of building, manipulating and exploiting model-based system engineering (MBSE) in the Systems Modeling Language (SysML) format.

The IDEA collaborative offers education and training solutions in digital engineering featuring an associate degree in systems engineering technology (SET); professional and certificate programs; professional training programs; university-level electives and certifications; internships and apprenticeships.

Systems Engineering Technicians (SET) will be the anchor of the growing field of MBSE, using computer models to coordinate large-scale, complex engineering projects. A SET degree will offer the computer programming and database skills needed to build and maintain those models.

The SET program at Calhoun will be the model for future SET programs around the country and will prepare students for industry-recognized certifications in CompTIA Network+ and Security+; and fundamental and intermediate OCSMP Model User, Model Builder. It includes the pathfinder degree at Calhoun Community College.

The SET curriculum has been developed to align with employers’ needs for workers skilled in emerging systems engineering technologies without requiring a four-year degree. It is made possible through funding under the Department of Defense Industrial Base Analysis and Sustainment (IBAS) program and creates a new skillset of engineering technicians that will accelerate the incorporation of digital engineering into the workplace.

“We are confident that as the program matures throughout Alabama and our outreach expands to other states, we will see big gains toward filling the talent pipeline with a workforce that possesses more in-demand, hands-on experience with system modeling expertise,” said Chris Crumbly, executive director and SET program manager for IDEA.

Moving forward, the SET program continues to explore opportunities to expand its systems engineering technician curriculum to other schools across Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee and project leaders are in conversations with stakeholders in Texas, Florida, South Carolina, and Georgia for potential expansion.

IDEA is also working towards a Department of Labor-registered apprenticeship program for SET, but these next steps require support from the industry and the community in sponsoring IDEA education nodes near MBE/MBSE centers of excellence; sponsorship of interns and apprenticeships; and employing SET graduates.

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