The Eastern Iowa Community Colleges will use a $150,000 grant to create virtual reality professional development in digital manufacturing for college faculty and high school teachers.

“The grant will allow us to customize delivery of virtual reality training for these instructors,” said Wayne Merrell, with the district, which includes Scott, Clinton and Muscatine community colleges.

The project will be done in partnership with Purdue University. The local district will work with the university’s new Northwest Commercialization and Manufacturing Excellence Center.

The district will develop curriculum that college faculty and high school teachers can use in the classroom to teach students about digital manufacturing. Once it is created, it will be delivered via virtual reality to the instructors, with training modules included.

The new grant is a follow-up to a $500,000 National Science Foundation grant that EICC received last year. That is being used in a special project aimed at increasing the number of skilled workers employed in advanced manufacturing through the design of specialized coursework.

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