Riverland secures $348K grant for new project

Published 6:38 am Friday, August 19, 2022

Riverland Community College recently secured a $348,486 in grant funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program. The NSF-ATE funding will be used to support the Educating Autonomous Vehicle Technicians project being launched by Riverland’s Automotive Service Technology program.

Riverland instructor Olle Gladso will be the principal investigator of the project.

Riverland and M State, along with Scott Swelland from Austin Ford, will develop curriculum, purchase equipment, participate in professional development, and provide continuing education for the project under this NSF ATE funded program.

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“This is Riverland’s first NSF ATE award as a lead agency,” said Riverland President Adenuga Atewologun.  “We are excited about this opportunity to increase capacity for training Riverland students in Autonomous Vehicle Technology. The NSF ATE grant awards are competitive and Riverland’s ability to submit a worthy proposal demonstrates our growth in looking for innovative and forward-thinking ways to educate our students.”

According to the National Science Foundation Act of 1950, the NSF envisions a nation that capitalizes on new concepts in science and engineering and provides global leadership in advancing research and education. The goal is to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity and welfare; and to secure the national defense; and for other purposes.

With a focus on two-year Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs), the ATE program supports the education of technicians for the high-technology fields that drive our nation’s economy. The program involves partnerships between academic institutions (grades 7-12, IHEs), industry, and economic development agencies to promote improvement in the education of science and engineering technicians at the undergraduate and secondary institution school levels. The ATE program supports curriculum development; professional development of college faculty and secondary school teachers; career pathways; and other activities. The program invites applied research proposals that advance the knowledge base related to technician education. It is required that projects be faculty driven and that courses and programs are credit bearing, although materials developed may also be used for incumbent worker education.

Riverland Community College, a member of the Minnesota State system, is a community college that strives to transform lives through excellence in service, education, and career training. Approximately 4,500 students are served annually through a wide range of credit-based educational opportunities. Of those 55% are first generation students and 26% are students of color. With campuses located in Albert Lea, Austin and Owatonna, Riverland may be found on the Internet at www.riverland.edu.