Program Overview

Mentor-Connect’s peer mentoring facilitates knowledge transfer from the more experienced to the less experienced. Peer mentoring also stimulates the engagement of STEM educators, broadens participation in the ATE Program, and develops a next generation of leadership to ensure the advancement of technician education to support our nation’s economy.


  • September 1, 2012:

    Initially funded in 2012 to respond to issues and opportunities in the ATE Program. Issues included, two-thirds of community colleges had never had NSF grant funding, limiting the geographic and demographic diversity in the program and preliminary proposals were eliminated from the NSF ATE Program, deleting the opportunity for prospective grantees to receive feedback on proposal ideas before final submission. Mentor-Connect was born to leverage ATE Program assets, that is, its experienced principal investigators.

  • November 2012:

    Cohort 1 of Mentor-Connect college mentee teams selected

  • January 23-25, 2013:

    First faculty mentee team Technical Assistance Workshop held in Portland, OR

  • October 2013:

    Cohort 1 proposals with Mentor-Connect assistance submitted to NSF

  • June 2017:

    Mentor-Connect: Leadership Development and Outreach Initiative for ATE-2 (three-year supplemental Mentor Fellow project) funded

  • Fall 2017:

    100 two-year technical colleges served by Mentor-Connect New-to-ATE project

  • June 1, 2018:

    HSI ATE Hub – Diversifying the ATE Program with Hispanic Serving Institutions collaborative grant funded. HSI Hub established to increase capacity to assist more Community College Hispanic Serving Institutions (CCHSIs) across the nation in developing competitive ATE proposals and to encourage and elevate CC-HSIs as the drivers of their communities’ economic success via technician education.

  • September 1, 2018:

    Mentor-Connect: Leadership Development and Outreach Initiative for ATE-3 funded. 122 ATE proposals have been submitted from the 142 colleges that participated in MC Cohorts 1 through 7 (83% submission rate).

  • Fall 2019:

    160 two-year technical colleges served by Mentor-Connect New-to-ATE project

  • Spring 2020:

    39 states have been reached as well as Puerto Rico and American Samoa (US territories) with Cohorts 1 through 8

Our Mission

To help community colleges benefit from grant funding opportunities and continuous improvement through mentoring, faculty and leadership development, real-time technical assistance, and an online searchable database of NSF ATE-related resources

Our Vision

To be a regenerative mentoring system for leadership development and knowledge transfer with hopes of broadening the impact of the Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Program

Our Values and Beliefs

Mentor-Connect is committed to empowering educators through experienced mentorship to obtain critical funding so that they can realize their vision in technical and community colleges throughout the country.

Two-year community and technical colleges play a unique and critical role in STEM workforce development.

Peer mentoring is an effective tool for leadership development, knowledge transfer, and broadening impacts of grant-funded innovations.

Diversity and teamwork are essential to improving and developing new STEM education and workforce development programs and helping students realize success in their career pathways.

Effective collaboration among secondary schools, community colleges, and universities encourages synergy in advancing STEM education and workforce development to meet advanced technology career challenges.

Florence-Darlington Technical College

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