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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Out and About: PREP Weekend Conference

This weekend, I spent my time in Hilton Head Island at a conference evaluating a National Science Foundation (NSF) project called Plastics Resources for Educator's Project. The PREP project, as it is called, was started over 10 years ago to develop Reusable Learning Objectives (RLOs) in the area of plastics education. The project has since spurred a book, additional web site and great collaboration among plastics educators across the country.

Here is Rick Wilson presenting on a plastics certification program.

At the conference, the topics of for credit plastics education, non-credit plastics education and the future of plastics education was discussed. The plastics industry in the 3rd largest industry in Pennsylvania but some schools are having trouble recruiting because it is not as glamorous as other professions but the industry is high-tech, well entrenched in the United States and in need of energetic new employees.

One initiative they are considering is to create an interactive web site for youngsters and placing videos on YouTube...they are reaching out to where the potential students hang out. They have huge industry demand and light student interest...the biggest programs...forensics because of the CSI shows...what they need are some Plastics shows.

Here is Elizabeth Webster talking about Plastics SourceNet.

The emphasis on the need for new students is just another sign of the boomer exodus from the workforce and the need to get "gamers" interested in manufacturing and other industries traditionally thought of as old or not glamorous.

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