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Continuous investments in education strengthen NSWC Crane workforce

By NSWC Crane Corporate Communications | Feb. 4, 2019

CRANE, Ind. – Over the years, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane) has made significant investments in the educational advancement of its workforce. A wide variety of opportunities exist for employees to earn both technical and business bachelors, masters, and doctorate degrees.

“Continuous learning is critical to meet the current and future demands of the fleet,” says Scott Karcher, the Crane Division University Technical Advisor at NSWC Crane. “We also understand the importance of our workforce being able to grow and develop through diverse learning opportunities, such as our Technician-to-Engineer bachelor’s degree program. Investing in our employees enables them to thrive.”

Between 150 and 200 Crane personnel take part in one of the various academic programs available. This past year alone, 175 Crane employees furthered their education through these programs.

Karcher and Amber Hoffman, the Academic Programs Coordinator at NSWC Crane, organize Academic Tuition Assistance (ATA) and several other Academic Degree Programs. ATA allows an individual to pursue a degree from educational institutions across the country, typically online. The Academic Degree Programs are typically cohort-based classes.

“The content in these courses is often tailored to Crane’s mission areas,” says Hoffman. “In the cohort-style classes, you get to network with your fellow employees and meet people you normally wouldn’t meet. The curriculum takes on a real-world setting.”

Karcher says the partnerships with diverse academic institutions such as the Naval Postgraduate School, Indiana University, Purdue University, and even Cranfield University in the UK, create opportunities for innovation.  

“These programs help increase our capabilities in key areas of technology. For example, we have cohort programs focused on cybersecurity, expeditionary warfare, and electronic warfare,” says Karcher. “Through developing these programs, we’ve generated multiple opportunities for cooperative research projects - all tailored to defense applications.”

Dr. Jonathan Dilger, the Director of Research for NSWC Crane, manages the PhD Fellowship and SMART Scholarship-for-Service Program. Both academic programs target doctorate-level work and allow students to pursue defense-centered research.

“It’s been a joy to use these programs to grow our research pipeline on base,” says Dr. Dilger. “In the past decade, Crane has dramatically increased the number of employees with a doctorate-level degree. Our fellowship programs help to create national, and even international, science and technology leaders in their respective fields of study for the Navy. Crane’s investment in education also creates more opportunities to engage with experts in different fields of research. This further enables our employees to tackle the toughest warfighter challenges and problems.”

NSWC Crane is a naval laboratory and a field activity of Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) with mission areas in Expeditionary Warfare, Strategic Missions and Electronic Warfare. The warfare center is responsible for multi-domain, multi- spectral, full life cycle support of technologies and systems enhancing capability to today's Warfighter.