Gateway Technical College
Gateway Technical College, serving Southeastern Wisconsin, remains an educational leader in its innovative approach to career and technical education after becoming the first publicly funded continuation school – the predecessor to technical colleges – in the nation in 1911. One of its foundational pillars has been innovation and strong delivery of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.
Gateway works to inspire its students and serve its communities through innovative, flexible and realistic training education. Local, state, national, education, business, government, entrepreneurial and innovation-focused groups have recognized Gateway for its STEM leadership and education. Its president, Dr. Bryan Albrecht, has been invited several times to contribute to White House and other national STEM education and training efforts as well as being a contributing author on this topic.
Gateway is considered a model college because of its development of business partnerships, industry certifications woven into the academic curriculum, a real-world approach to skill training and innovative and flexible education delivery methods.
Tarnowski Hall in Gateway’s SC Johnson integrated Manufacturing and Engineering Technology Center is the nation’s first flexible manufacturing lab. Innovative training is offered here in automated machinery (robotics), welding and computer-numerical control machines. Many area businesses have contributed equipment and knowledge to make the training here a leader in the region.
Gateway’s Fab Lab serves the needs of its students, K12 partners, area entrepreneurs and business leaders. Providing an innovative maker space, this lab offers a way for Gateway engineering students to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom to manufacturing an actual object through 3D printing.
K12 partners and entrepreneurs use the Fab Lab, providing the “wow” factor to technical and STEM education to students. It is here where students engage in 3D design, printing and engineering concepts – providing a way to see the connection between math and science in the classroom through a physical application.
Area entrepreneurs use the lab as a STEM resource, providing the capabilities for learning, engineering and making prototype models.
Gateway collaborates with area businesses to provide the resources, equipment and innovations that drive STEM education. This collaboration – with such companies as Snap-on Incorporated – has resulted in matching STEM curriculum to industry needs and providing training to ensure Gateway graduates possess those skills as they enter their career.
The partnership with Snap-on has also resulted in an innovative train-the-trainer method of curriculum delivery, where Gateway instructors teach instructors from across the nation how to use Snap-on automotive diagnostic equipment – so they can, in turn, teach their students.
The college holds STEM career fairs as a way to further connect students with area employers seeking workers strong in STEM-related skills.
Gateway partners with K12 education to provide a resource for innovative STEM education.
- Each year, the college hosts a Sumobot robotics competition, bringing in hundreds of area high-schoolers and middle schools students to pit their STEM innovation and knowledge against each other. Many participants say Sumobot inspired them to enroll in a STEM-related college program and career. Gateway information technology students also mentor area high-schoolers to compete in other robotics competitions.
- Gateway provides a mobile unit which can be taken to schools where college staff bring technology equipment and curriculum to enhance their STEM education.
- STEM-related summer camps are offered to middle-school students, who learn such areas as medicine, information technology, agriculture science and sustainable and green concepts.
- Through workshops, Gateway instructors in STEM-related career fields provide ways for area high school teachers to learn more about STEM, environmental science opportunities and curriculum available in their communities.
- The college also has reached out to pre-teen girls to encourage them to consider a career in engineering through MakerGirl camps held at its SC Johnson iMET Center.