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WestGate Academy Providing Career Development Accessibility For NSWC Crane's Technician Workforce
Updated January 29, 2018 5:02 PM | Filed under: Education
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crane school2.jpg
crane school.jpg

(ODON) - The Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Crane-University of Southern Indiana's (USI) Tech-to-Engineer program completed its first of five years at WestGate Academy this January.

WestGate Academy, the event center adjacent to Crane, provides space for naval technicians to receive engineering degrees while upholding full-time positions on the base.

"It can be challenging getting through this engineering curriculum after working at Crane," said Scott Karcher, the representative for Crane Division University at NSWC Crane. "We're talking 2- to 3-hour classes on top of an 8-hour or more workday. Being able to provide distance learning at WestGate decreases the amount of time spent in the car, which improves these students' chances of success and quality of life."

NSWC Crane offers its employees several continuing education programs for various fields, but this is the first cohort-based program designed specifically for Crane technicians. This is also Crane's first career development program offered at WestGate Academy.

"The University of Southern Indiana's engineering department created this cohort-based, distance-learning curriculum specifically for these students," said Paul Kuban, the engineering department chair at USI. "This one-of-a-kind program is also open to the public while filling the regional technical workforce demand."

The program will give students career advancement choices upon graduation.

"The curriculum upholds the same rigor as our on-campus bachelor of science in engineering degree," said Kuban. "We ensure that accepted students are prepared for the upcoming material. The Crane technicians have proven to be hard-working, excellent performers, and as engineers, they will fill an ongoing need at Crane."

Tech-to-Engineer lays the foundation for future regional workforce education.

"USI and Crane have given these working professionals an optimal solution to continue their education while maintaining work/life balance," said Samantha Nelson, program manager for Purdue@WestGate. "As this model is replicated, the quality of life and career opportunities around WestGate and Southwest Indiana will continue to grow."

About Purdue@WestGate

Purdue@WestGate is an economic development accelerator formed by the partnership between WestGate Authority, Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division (NSWC Crane), Purdue University and Purdue Research Foundation. The Indiana-based collaboration combines strengths to advance educational, research and development and technology commercialization across Indiana and elsewhere. Purdue@WestGate offers tools for startups, entrepreneurial experts, programs, educational opportunities and workforce development to help southern Indiana businesses grow and thrive. For more information about the resources available to businesses, visit Purdue@WestGate.

About Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane

NSWC Crane is a naval laboratory and a field activity of Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA). NSWC Crane is responsible for multi-domain, multi-spectral, full life cycle support of technologies and systems enhancing capability of today's warfighter.

About University of Southern Indiana

Founded in 1965, the University of Southern Indiana enrolls more than 11,000 dual credit, undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students in more than 100 areas of study. A public higher education institution, located on a beautiful 1,400-acre campus in Evansville, Indiana, USI offers programs through the College of Liberal Arts, Romain College of Business, College of Nursing and Health Professions and the Pott College of Science, Engineering, and Education. USI is a Carnegie Foundation Community Engaged University and offers continuing education and special programs to more than 16,000 participants annually through Outreach and Engagement. USI is online at

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