Today, the Baker-Polito Administration, the University of Massachusetts Lowell, and Hanscom Air Force Base announced the creation of a new digital engineering program that will prepare active duty and civilian U.S. Air Force personnel for careers in the rapidly growing field. Offered at the UMass Lowell Research Institute’s Northstar Campus in Lincoln, Mass., the four-semester program will provide participants with state-of-the-art knowledge of digital engineering processes and techniques in order to facilitate the rapid modeling and development of technologies and products. The Massachusetts Military Asset and Security Strategy Task Force (MASS-TF) convened leaders from the U.S. Air Force, UMass Lowell, and the digital engineering industry to develop the course, which is made possible by a $180,000 grant from MassDevelopment.
“Through the Massachusetts Military Asset and Security Strategy Task Force, our Administration has been proud to work with our congressional leaders to ensure Massachusetts military installations and their missions and families thrive here in the Commonwealth,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Working through our MASS-TF and with UMass Lowell and MassDevelopment, we will continue to support the Air Force with this program to create more digital engineers.”
“The launch of this program represents the best of our ability to form the kinds of partnerships that open new pathways in STEM careers, support the needs of the Air Force, and keep the Commonwealth on the cutting edge of innovations like digital engineering,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “Thank you to the Air Force, MassDevelopment, UMass Lowell, and the MASS-TF for their collaborative efforts and I look forward to the new opportunities this program creates.”
“I’m grateful to Governor Baker, the Massachusetts Military Asset and Security Strategy Task Force and the University of Massachusetts Lowell for enthusiastically partnering with the Air Force to ensure we continue to accelerate change by making this digital engineering course a reality,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr. “Training opportunities like this are critical so our Airmen stay on the cutting edge of technology.”
“UMass Lowell is excited about this partnership with Hanscom AFB to deliver critical new knowledge in digital engineering to both active duty and civilian personnel in the Air Force and other Department of Defense services,” said Dr. Julie Chen, Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation at University of Massachusetts Lowell. “Continuing to advance the education of our aerospace/defense workforce helps to ensure that we maintain the highest competitive advantage. This is just one example of how the MASS-TF brings the needs of and opportunities for our military bases together with great resources in the Commonwealth such as the workforce development and R&D capabilities of the UMass system. We look forward to expansion of these programs to other certificates and to other engineers in our aerospace/defense supply chain through UMass Lowell’s Division of Graduate, Online & Professional Studies (gps.uml.edu).”
The cohort of students attending this program includes 20 active duty and civilian personnel that were selected from a broad and talented pool of engineers at Hanscom Air Force Base. The first course, Systems, Models and Simulation for Digital Engineering, runs January 18 – May 3, 2022. This graduate-level course focuses on the concepts of systems, systems thinking and systems engineering, and model-based-system engineering (MBSE) and its extension across the system lifecycle. The cohort will complete three additional semesters of this graduate-level program, culminating in fall 2023.
The Commonwealth has a legacy of supporting the training, education, and workforce needs of its military partners. From 2015-2018, the Commonwealth supported a professional certificate program at Hanscom AFB focused on cybersecurity, and supported a similar program at Natick Soldier Systems Center focused on corporate entrepreneurship. Similar to these earlier programs, the new digital engineering program is designed to meet a critical need by the U.S. Air Force and ensure that Hanscom AFB remains a strong and viable component to the national defense innovation ecosystem and Massachusetts economy.
“Massachusetts is home to an innovation ecosystem in which our first-rate colleges and universities partner with, support, and advance the work of our military installations and defense industry,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy, who serves as chair of MassDevelopment’s Board of Directors. “UMass Lowell’s new digital engineering course, made possible by the work of the Massachusetts Military Asset and Security Strategy Task Force and funding from MassDevelopment, reflects the collaborative and responsive approach the Commonwealth has taken to strengthening our Air Force missions and growing talent in Massachusetts.”
“MassDevelopment is proud of its role as the lead agency for the Massachusetts Military Asset and Security Strategy Task Force, which continually assesses and supports the needs of our six military installations to ensure they remain competitive,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Dan Rivera. “Developing this digital engineering course in short order required partnership-building and agility, and through the efforts of the MASS-TF and a $180,000 grant from our agency, we made it happen.”
Massachusetts is home to six military installations that generate more than $13.2 billion in total economic activity and support more than 57,600 jobs, including Barnes Air National Guard Base, Fort Devens, Hanscom Air Force Base, Joint Base Cape Cod, the U.S. Army’s Natick Soldier Systems Center, and Westover Air Reserve Base. The Massachusetts Military Asset and Security Strategy Task Force, as a nation-leading defense community support entity, has leveraged the strength of the Commonwealth’s federal, state and local leadership to commit over $46 million to these military installations and defense communities, including over $32 million under the 2014 Military Bond Bill authorization.