VSU and CCAM Forge Path to Excellence: “Advanced Manufacturing Processes” Course Tackles Industry Demand for Skilled IIoT Professionals


In the spring of 2024, Virginia State University (VSU) launched an innovative course titled “Advanced Manufacturing Processes,” led by two CCAM Researchers, Andwele Grant and Benjamin Standfield, who also serve as adjunct faculty members at VSU. This collaborative effort between CCAM and VSU stems from industry feedback highlighting a significant shortage of skilled Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) professionals. With CCAM providing crucial technical oversight, the course aims to address this talent gap by equipping students with essential skills and knowledge tailored to industry demands through an immersive project-based learning experience where students will be hands-on using the equipment operated in real manufacturing environments.

“This new course is a great example of CCAM’s ongoing commitment to collaborating with great partners like VSU to accelerate the development of our very talented STEM students in order to prepare them for effective careers in manufacturing,” said Matt Stremler, Director of Research for CCAM. “ I am ecstatic about how our partnership with VSU will provide mentored familiarization and training to advanced manufacturing technology for students in a very practical, hands-on way.”

Comprising four comprehensive modules, the “Advanced Manufacturing Processes” course focuses on key learning goals industry members find essential for navigating today’s dynamic manufacturing landscape. The first module emphasizes manufacturing process data collection, stressing the importance of precision and accuracy in acquiring critical data. Following this, students delve into the intricacies of data storage and management, understanding the significance of data integrity and accessibility in informed decision-making processes.

Andwele Grant, Senior Research Engineer, CCAM and Adjunct Professor, College of Engineering and Technology, Virginia State University

Andwele Grant, Senior Research Engineer, CCAM and Adjunct Professor, College of Engineering and Technology, Virginia State University

With Andwele Grant and Benjamin Standfield leading the course, students can expect to benefit from their wealth of expertise and practical insights derived from extensive research and industry collaborations. As alumni of both VSU and Virginia Tech’s graduate school, their journey exemplifies the synergy between academic excellence and practical application, offering students a unique perspective on navigating the complexities of advanced manufacturing. Their dual roles as CCAM Researchers and adjunct faculty members uniquely position them to offer invaluable perspectives and mentorship, enriching the learning journey for aspiring engineers and technologists at VSU.

A pivotal component of the course lies in acquainting students with industry standards and cutting-edge technologies and standards such as MT Connect, MQTT, OPC UA, Grafana, InfluxDB, and Node-RED. Through hands-on experiences and practical applications, students gain proficiency in leveraging these tools within real-world manufacturing environments.

Moreover, the course provides a comprehensive overview of both subtractive and additive manufacturing processes, explaining the underlying principles and applications driving these transformative technologies.

As VSU continues to champion innovation and excellence in education, initiatives like the “Advanced Manufacturing Processes” course underscore the university’s commitment to nurturing talent and fostering synergistic partnerships that drive success for both students and industries alike. By focusing on innovation, collaboration, and hands-on learning, the course promises to be a transformative experience for students aspiring to excel in the dynamic field of advanced manufacturing.

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