NACK leads development of ASTM Nanotechnology Workforce Standards

The Nanotechnology Applications and Career Knowledge Network (NACK) is the NSF Advanced Technological Education funded National Center within the Penn State Engineering Science Department's Center for Nanotechnology Education and Utilization with the primary mission to enable nanotechnology workforce education at post-secondary institutions across the United States. NACK has taken on the challenge to create infrastructure for nanotechnology workforce education. As part of the creation of this national infrastructure, NACK is leading efforts to define what should be taught in nanotechnology workforce education programs across the country. There is a need to define basic skills at the undergraduate level for students looking to enter the technician workforce or for incumbent workers wishing to upgrade their nanotechnology skill set. NACK is facilitating a group of nanotechnology educators from across the United States to create a series of seven workforce education standards through the ASTM International Nanotechnology (E56) Committee. ASTM is a well established worldwide standards organization that creates standards through the consensus of its industry, government, educator and other professionals membership. The first two in this series of standards, E2996: Guide for Workforce Education in Nanotechnology Health and Safety and E3001: Practice for Workforce Education in Nanotechnology Characterization were approved in January 2015 and were published in March 2015, and are now available via ASTM. The remaining five workforce education covering Infrastructure, Synthesis and Processing, Pattern Generation, Material Properties and Scale, and an overall umbrella guide encompassing all of these workforce education standards) are presently in progress and will be completed by mid-2016.