MTC Awarded a National Science Foundation Grant

Posted on September 10, 2020

The National Science Foundation awarded Marion Technical College a $477,868 grant to create a new Smart Manufacturing program. In response to local employers, educational partners and community leaders, this new program will help graduates find in-demand jobs with the skills to manage new technology.

“We are excited to have our first grant from the National Science Foundation. This will help our students and our community stay competitive,” said Dr. Ryan McCall, president of Marion Tech.

(pictured above is Dr. Ryan McCall)

Smart Manufacturing is a groundbreaking technology trend that uses networks of advanced sensors, data analysis, information technology and communications technology to increase manufacturing automation and improve performance. There is an urgent need for workers with the skills and knowledge in this new field.

The new grant will fund $170,870 in new equipment, new classes, a new associate degree and two new certificates. The grant will also include professional development opportunities for college instructors and local high school teachers interested in teaching engineering.

Students in the new Associate of Applied Science degree in Smart Manufacturing will complete an industry-driven capstone project that will allow them to use their knowledge in real-world situations. Local industry partners supporting this grant include Festo, POET Bio-refining, OhioHealth, RobotWorx, Custom Glass, Liqui-Box, Wilson Bohannon Lock Company and Whirlpool.

Educational and community partners include Marion City Schools, Marion CANDO!, Mt. Gilead High School, North Union High School and Riverdale Local Schools.

“It is exciting to help our students position themselves at the forefront of this new field,” said Dr. Elizabeth Azhikannickal, Interim Director of Engineering Technologies at Marion Tech. “Industry is constantly changing and our students will have the advanced manufacturing automation experience that employers need.”

(pictured above is Dr. Elizabeth Azhikannickal)

Marion Tech will offer the first pilot courses in the Smart Manufacturing degree in January 2021. The degree will be available as a major in Fall Semester 2021. The new program will train technologists in the use of advanced sensors, data analytics and cyber security principles to streamline manufacturing processes.

“Marion is the nation’s Workforce Development Capital. It is exciting to see this new program helping local students get great jobs and meet the demands of local employers. I’m excited for this opportunity that benefits our community!” proclaimed Gus Comstock, Director of Marion CANDO!

For more information on this new field of study, go to

Attached photos: Dr. Ryan McCall and Dr. Elizabeth Azhikannickal

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