By Aziza Jackson
Crownpoint, N.M. — Navajo Technical University (NTU) recently announced their procurement of a $3.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to establish the NTU Center for Advanced Manufacturing. The funding ensures a solid foundation for the new center that will focus on enhancing education, fostering research, and stimulating economic development.
“The goal for the center is to provide opportunities for students so they can learn and gain experience in a working environment,” said H. Scott Halliday, director of NTU’s Center for Digital Technologies, who was instrumental in the development of NTU’s Bachelor of Applied Science degree in advanced manufacturing. “We also plan to elevate the center’s research capabilities, and provide metrology and testing services to industry and other institutions.”
The new center will house courses on 3D modeling and simulation, polymer and metal additive manufacturing, and advanced manufacturing post processing techniques. It will also focus on materials testing and characterization, and metrology, or the science of measurement. NTU was awarded a $1 million grant by the U.S. Department of Commerce with matching funds of $1.5 million from the Navajo Nation to build a metrology and materials testing center within the Center for Advanced Manufacturing, which Halliday plans to make a certifiable lab to assist in student learning.
The Navajo Nation’s Division of Economic Development’s commitment of $1.5 million toward the center hopes to generate 500 high-tech, high wage jobs in partnership with industries like Boeing Corporation’s Metal AM Technologies in El Segundo, Calif. NTU is also looking to bring in opportunities with companies such as Sigma Labs, LLC in Santa Fe, N.M., Optomec, LLC in Albuquerque, N.M., and V&M Global Solutions, LLC in Ojo Caliente, N.M.
NTU has plans to break ground on the new center in early spring 2019 with the hopes the center will be functional by the end of the year. In addition to contributing a new building for the center, the NSF funding will assist with the development of a new certificate, associate of applied science degree, and four-year degree in mechanical engineering.