SEVERE WX : Flash Flood Watch View Alerts

Skilled to Work: Space industry leaders discuss workforce needs leading up to Artemis 2024 goal

Hundreds gathered at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) this week for the 12th Annual Wernher von Braun Memorial Symposium.

Posted: Sep 12, 2019 10:14 PM
Updated: Sep 12, 2019 10:36 PM

With the countdown to meet the 2024 deadline of the first Artemis mission to the Moon, leaders in the space industry are focused on getting the workforce in place to reach that goal.

Hundreds of them gathered in at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) this week for the 12th Annual Wernher von Braun Memorial Symposium.

The The "Manufacturing Workforce" panel discussed many challenges and opportunities to growing the workforce. Ball Aerospace Director of Engineering Operations Dorothy Rasco described machinists and technicians as "artists in their area."

Jennifer Boland-Masterson travelled from the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans to be a part of the panel on the manufacturing workforce. She said a challenge for her facility is changing the mindset around this work.

"In the past, you would hear manufacturing technician and they think, oh, it’s a button pusher. The machine opens up, you take parts out, you throw some stuff in and the machine does its thing. Well, this is very highly skilled, very detail-oriented process to build the SLS rocket and we need to have folks that can do that kind of work and get people excited about it,” said Boland-Masterson.

She and the other panelists agreed that more needs to be done to inspire young people into the workforce.

“The hardware sells itself, but (it’s) understanding what you would do with that hardware as a technician. So I think it’s getting those high school students into the factory to see,” said Boland-Masterson.

Panel moderator John Vickers said the additive manufacturing programs at Jemison and Grissom high schools are key examples of how public-private partnerships can help.

“Those students will amaze you. They're doing work that is far above what would be the norm for me when I was in high school or probably around the rest of the country. That's an excellent example of what’s probably going beyond what’s happening in the rest of the country,” said Vickers, the principal technologist for the Space Technology Mission Directorate at Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC).

One of the audience members asked the panel about bringing more minorities into the picture. UAH Professor Emeritus Phillip Farrington said the best way to start is by going directly to them.

"Helping them see and having that vision and expanding their view of the world and the possibilities are out there will help provide those opportunities,” said Farrington.

Following Presidential Adviser Ivanka Trump’s visit to the Alabama Robotic Technology Park this week, Vickers said there is a national spotlight on how apprenticeships can help in the United States, like they have in Europe.

“I think apprenticeship programs, like what was announced here yesterday, they’ll certainly help automotive, but there’s a lot of crossover with the technology with what’s going on in automotive, what’s going on in aerospace, what’s going on in other industry sectors as well,” said Vickers.

Next week, Vickers said he will be traveling to NASA headquarters to discuss in-space manufacturing opportunities, both to benefit NASA as well as other commercial needs.

Huntsville
Broken Clouds
72° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 72°
Florence
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 71°
Fayetteville
Overcast
73° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 73°
Decatur
Broken Clouds
72° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 72°
Scottsboro
Overcast
73° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 73°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 38442

Reported Deaths: 947
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson4210140
Montgomery378894
Mobile3634134
Tuscaloosa196436
Marshall14959
Lee116737
Shelby105623
Madison10216
Morgan9553
Franklin84313
Walker84317
Dallas8088
Elmore80614
Baldwin6639
Etowah60613
Butler60427
Chambers57627
DeKalb5765
Tallapoosa56069
Autauga53011
Unassigned50924
Russell4690
Lowndes45719
Houston4244
Lauderdale4105
Limestone4030
Cullman3983
Pike3965
Colbert3635
Bullock3609
Coffee3522
Barbour3221
Covington3086
St. Clair2922
Hale28520
Wilcox2788
Marengo27711
Sumter27512
Calhoun2685
Clarke2645
Escambia2586
Talladega2576
Dale2410
Winston2293
Jackson2102
Chilton2062
Blount2041
Pickens2046
Marion20012
Monroe1942
Choctaw19112
Conecuh1786
Randolph1699
Bibb1671
Macon1668
Greene1647
Perry1350
Henry1293
Crenshaw1223
Lawrence1000
Washington987
Cherokee717
Lamar711
Fayette661
Geneva630
Coosa551
Clay532
Cleburne291
Out of AL00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 43509

Reported Deaths: 604
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby10028192
Davidson9237113
Rutherford252834
Hamilton246630
Trousdale14855
Sumner141752
Williamson101314
Knox9675
Out of TN9527
Putnam7837
Wilson77917
Robertson77611
Lake6900
Bledsoe6171
Sevier6083
Tipton6074
Bradley5503
Bedford5135
Montgomery4797
Macon3943
Unassigned3690
Hardeman2991
Maury2873
Fayette2732
Rhea2690
Loudon2611
Madison2472
Hamblen2204
Dyer2141
McMinn21017
Cheatham2021
Dickson1750
Blount1733
Cumberland1683
Monroe1324
Washington1310
Lawrence1245
Lauderdale1192
Coffee1080
Anderson1022
Jefferson1020
Gibson1001
Obion942
Hardin935
Smith901
Sullivan892
Greene852
Wayne770
Franklin753
Haywood712
Marshall711
Hickman700
Marion644
White633
Warren620
Weakley601
Cocke580
Grundy581
McNairy580
Lincoln560
Overton560
Carter541
Unicoi540
DeKalb520
Hawkins512
Giles501
Roane440
Henry420
Polk410
Carroll391
Campbell361
Johnson360
Grainger350
Henderson320
Meigs320
Crockett313
Perry310
Cannon270
Jackson260
Claiborne250
Morgan241
Sequatchie240
Chester230
Humphreys221
Decatur210
Stewart210
Fentress170
Clay160
Scott140
Benton121
Houston120
Union120
Moore70
Van Buren70
Lewis60
Pickett60
Hancock30

 

 

Community Events