Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) celebrated the kick off of the Naval Engineering Education Center (NEEC), launching a three-day conference at the University of Michigan, July 26-28. NEEC is a new partnership between NAVSEA and a consortium of 15 top colleges and universities as well as 2 engineering professional societies focused on developing the Navy's future science, engineering and acquisition workforce.
“Sailors depend upon you to give them a ship with a technological edge. The NEEC will provide the best minds and training to give the Sailors the technological edge they rely on," said Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich.), the keynote speaker at the Kick-Off event.
The NEEC Consortium will increase the number of students who graduate with an accredited degree; provide world-class faculty specialized in naval engineering; coordinate employee development opportunities to retain naval engineering talent for the Navy; and increase the availability of naval engineering education programs and courses across universities and colleges.
A key part of the NEEC is using project-based education to provide naval engineering experience to students. NEEC project teams from the universities, along with a NAVSEA engineer or scientist assigned to the team, will tackle current and future technical challenges, including the use of alternative energy sources, energy conservation, total ownership cost reduction, use of unmanned vehicles, advanced ship design methods and maintenance reduction. Through NAVSEA internships and at-sea opportunities on U.S. Navy ships, students will receive relevant, hands-on naval engineering experience.
“This is a great day for science and engineering, our naval enterprise, and in providing infinite opportunities to build our future leaders to take on the responsibility to bring fresh, innovative ideas to our nation’s shipbuilding missions,” said Rear Adm. Thomas Eccles, NAVSEA Chief Engineer and Deputy Commander for Naval Systems Engineering. “The Naval Engineering Education Center will foster and develop a twenty-first century, world-class group of professionals who will give our nation a true competitive advantage in naval engineering.”
One of the highlights of the Kick-Off event was the SeaPerch competition and awards presentation by Rear Adm. Eccles to 5 high school and college-bound students from across the nation. In the competition, 130 elementary, middle, and high-school students tested their basic skills in ship and submarine design and explored naval architecture and marine and ocean engineering concepts.
In addition to developing naval engineers to enter the current Navy workforce, the NEEC universities will partner with the American Society of Naval Engineers (ASNE) and the Society of Naval Architects and Engineering (SNAME) to develop a robust program for K-12 outreach. Through NEEC, the Navy will increase a student pipeline across the nation interested in pursuing education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, fields.
Led by the University of Michigan, the NEEC Consortium is comprised of 15 colleges and universities, along with the ASNE and SNAME. Other colleges and universities included in the NEEC Consortium include: Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Pennsylvania State University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Webb Institute, Florida State University, Florida Atlantic University, Old Dominion University, Tennessee State University, Stevens Institute of Technology, University of New Orleans, University of Iowa, University of Texas-San Antonio, and University of Washington. U.S. Navy Center for Innovation in Ship Design, located at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division, will also support the NEEC.