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54 SMT Magazine • January 2016 by Patty Goldman i-connecT007 The Founder of The Jefferson Project and the forthcoming Jefferson Institute of Technol- ogy, Tom Borkes, sat down with me at SMTAI and provided his well-researched plan to bring manufacturing to engineering undergraduate students by bringing students to manufactur- ing, through a hands-on, real world learning experience. Patty Goldman: tom, i understand you founded the Jefferson project, why don't you start by telling me what that's all about. Tom Borkes: It's a very ambitious project. I wrote a paper years ago and coined the term 'concurrent education' because it became clear to me that there was this gap between academic preparation and industry need, that kept wid- ening as the assembly technology got increas- ingly more complex. Obviously, schools are not able to respond to the needs of our industry in a timely fashion. I thought the only way to change that was to merge the two worlds – wrap a school around a for-profit contract manufac- turing business. That's what we're in the process of putting together now. Students will be study- ing and working for four years towards a bach- elor's degree in applied design and manufactur- ing sciences and will have the opportunity to be educated in the real world for all four years. They will take all of the traditional courses need- ed for accreditation, but they will take them in the context of a for-profit, high tech, electronic product design and assembly business. Goldman: is the Jefferson project a non-profit en- tity? Borkes: The Jefferson Institute of Technology, the school part, will be a 501(c)(3) not-for-prof- it, but it's important from the students' prepara- tion point of view that they receive their edu- cation in a real world, for-profit environment. One of the big problems, as anyone who's gone to school and then gone out to the real world knows, is the long learning curve that one has to go up to become fully productive. We're merging two environments that have been tra- ditionally kept worlds apart. the Jefferson ProJect: educating the next Generation in applied Manufacturing sciences (Part 1) FEATurE inTErViEw

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