By G.P. Thomas
The recently launched Nanotechnology Employment, Education, and Economic Development Initiative (NE3I) has opted for the Nanoscience Education Program from NanoProfessor to be the foundation for its activities aimed at propagation of nanotechnology education amongst community college and high school students in Chicago’s northern suburbs.
The NE3I is the collaborative effort of NSERVE, the consortium of nine high schools, Oakton Community College (Oakton), the Village of Skokie and the Illinois Science + Technology Park (IS+TP). The Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust awarded a US $250,000 grant to Oakton towards the NE3I. The Village of Skokie matched the grant with funds provided by the Downtown Science + Technology Park Tax Increment Finance (TIF) District. The goal of the initiative is to train 125 to 300 students every year to meet the burgeoning need for nano-savvy resources in Illinois. George Van Dusen, Mayor of Skokie, expects more nanotechnology firms to set up shop at the Illinois Science + Technology Park with the availability of nanotechnology trained local workforce. Programs under the NEI3 will commence in spring 2013 through Oakton and will be conducted at the IS+TP in Skokie. The curriculum to be followed will be that of the well established curriculum of NanoProfessor. NanoProfessor is the NanoInk division focusing on propagation of nanotechnology education. The pedagogy will involve class-room lectures as well as lab work. The students will have access to NanoInk’s state-of-the-art nanotechnology equipment. The text books to be perused are authored by experts in nanotechnology.