The testimony that Dr. Steve Fonash of Penn State University gave before Congress this summer will inform legislation expected to boost funding for technical training. His summary (see “Congressional hearing addresses need for technical skills,” page 30) stresses the importance of two-year college programs (especially those that provide an upward path). The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that eight of the top-ten occupations with the largest job growth through 2014 will require an associate’s degree or vocational training, he notes.
During the Rocky Mountain Nanotechnology Showcase, hosted September 18 by the Colorado Nanotechnology Alliance (CNA-www.coloradonanotechnology.org), I spoke with Booker T. Graves, Colorado Workforce Council executive director, who recommends training current workers (not just freshly minted high school grads) who have the potential and desire that even they might not initially recognize. Graves points to success with this approach in the healthcare industry.
By the way, the energy exhibited by CNA executive director Debbie Woodward and her participants at this first-rate (and inaugural) event exemplifies that of the small-tech industry overall. It’s also evident in such Colorado-based companies as RavenBrick (http:/
avenbrick.com/), which makes energy-saving alternatives for brick, roofing tile, and other traditional building materials; and ALD NanoSolutions (www.aldnanosolutions.com), which serves those needing pinhole-free coatings application.
The fourth-annual Micro Nano Breakthrough Conference (http://oregonstate.edu/conferences/MNBC/), another regional event, took place the previous week in Portland, Ore. There I moderated a session expertly planned by Kathy Miller of Hewlett-Packard that gave the audience a chance to engage as two entrepreneurs presented their business cases to a panel chosen for their sharp minds and business acumen. Panelists included serial entrepreneur David Soane of Alnis BioSciences and Brian Johnston of Kodak External Ventures-both of whom will also appear at Small Times’ NanoCon International (www.smalltimesnanocon.com) from Nov. 13-16 in Santa Clara, Calif.
I can’t sign off, though, without telling you about my recent visit to the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at the State University of New York-Albany (http://cnse.albany.edu/), which is currently under construction with a $100 million addition. When it’s completed in spring 2008, the addition will combine with CSNE’s current facilities for 750,000 square feet of space overall, which represents $3.5 billion in investments.
Besides a first-rate education through its four constellations-nanoscience, nanoengineering, nanoeconomics, and nanobioscience-CSNE boasts more than 250 global corporate partners, including Tokyo Electron Ltd. (TEL), the world’s second-largest manufacturer of chip-making tools, whose $300 million R&D center at UAlbany is the company’s only R&D facility outside of Japan. And recently, the electronics manufacturers’ consortium International SEMATECH announced its largest expansion ever-at UAlbany.
CSNE’s assistant vice president for marketing and communications, Steve Janack, does justice to this impressive operation in many ways, including a weekly television show, NanoNow (http://cnse.albany.edu/newsroom/nanonow/about.html), which explores small-tech topics with university talent and industry leaders from around the globe, and with visitors like me.
Barbara G. Goode is editor-in-chief of Small Times. She can be reached at email@example.com.