The innovative new Engineering, Design and Advanced Manufacturing (EDAM) program at the Morris County Vocational School District was highlighted at the State Board of Education meeting on June 1 as part of a presentation on career and technical education initiatives in New Jersey high schools.
MCVSD Superintendent Scott Moffitt explained that the program was launched through a grant initiative approved by the Legislature and the Governor to expand career and technical education opportunities to more students.
“The district created EDAM last year to meet the growing demand here in New Jersey for people trained in advanced manufacturing technologies,” Moffitt said. Program supporters and partners include the National Manufacturing Company, the NJ Manufacturing Extension Program, Siemens, the NJ Manufacturing Talent Network, Norwalt Design, Inc., Alcoa, Inc. and Sandvik Coromant.
The 20 high school juniors currently enrolled in EDAM take their academic courses at their local high schools in the mornings and their CTE courses at the newly-renovated, state-of the-art laboratories at the County College of Morris (CCM) in the afternoon. Twenty additional students will join the program as juniors for the 2016-2017 school year.
Students will be able to earn up to 32 college credits (36 if they take applied calculus) from CCM during the two-year program and will also earn CCM certificates in mechanical computer-aided drafting and engineering technology.
Two EDAM students, Kyle Green and Lauren Zenna, joined MCVSD’s Director of Curriculum and Programs Shari Castelli to speak to the State Board about what they had learned in their first year and what they hope to accomplish in the future.
“We have a group of happy, engaged and hard-working students who love what they are doing, are thrilled to be here, and who are acquiring skills like problem-solving, creative thinking and teamwork that will serve them well throughout their lives,” Castelli said.
The students provided an enthusiastic endorsement of the program and descriptions of their various projects and activities.
One of the aspects of EDAM that most engaged the Board members was the involvement with the with the NASA HUNCH (High school students United with NASA to Create Hardware) program, a partnership between NASA and select high schools throughout the country that gives students in various career and technical education fields the opportunity to create components of the equipment on the International Space Station. The EDAM students are building lockers for use by the astronauts.
Lauren, who attends Roxbury High School, is in charge of quality control for the NASA project.
“I was a little hesitant in the beginning because it was new, but I’ve really solidified my understanding of engineering and design, and I know I want to pursue mechanical engineering as a career,” she said.
Kyle, who attends Mt. Olive High School, explained that his role in the NASA project “is to write the computer programs to produce the parts that Lauren inspects.
“I know that everything I’ve learned will be definitely useful to me the future,” he said.