The North Carolina Center for Engineering Technologies provides facilities for applied research in engineering related fields and serves as a conduit to baccalaureate education delivered by the University of North Carolina system schools.

Conceived as a community supported higher education effort in technical and engineering disciplines, this Center was established through a collaboration of business, government and higher education organized as the Future Forward Economic Alliance. The Center may collaborate with other schools in bringing the best programs to the region to meet the employment needs.


About the Innovation Camps...

Started in 2010, the Innovation Camps (formerly Future Engineers Camps) are a program of the North Carolina Center for Engineering Technologies (NCCET) and Appalachian State University. The camp curriculum is supported by North Carolina State University and is led by teachers from multiple school districts from across the Greater Hickory Metro Area. The primary areas of focus for the camps are to 1) introduce engineering concepts and activities to students in elementary, middle and high school in an effort to encourage future training and educational opportunities in related fields and 2) to provide local teachers with activities and programs that they can incorporate in their classrooms to engage their students in engineering and other STEM related concepts and activities.

For more information on the Innovation Camps, contact Camp Manager Gina Houston at 828-328-6183 or nccetcamp@appstate.edu.

Innovation Camps 2023 Flyer

2023 Innovation Camps Flyer

Innovation Camps 2022 Summary


Approximately 75 students explored engineering related studies through hands-on programs and activities by attending the Innovation Camps held this summer at the North Carolina Center for Engineering Technologies (NCCET) in Hickory. The five, week-long day camps were held in collaboration with Appalachian State University and North Carolina State University and were led by teachers from throughout the region.

Innovation Camps 2022 attracted students from Alexander, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, Gaston, McDowell, and Watauga counties in North Carolina. A new camp, Engineering Pioneers, was offered for younger students. This camp was a huge success! With this additional camp, campers ranged from rising 1st graders to rising 10th graders. In all camps, students completed activities to gain understanding of various STEM disciplines - science, technology, engineering and math.

"In addition to providing access to university degree programs in engineering related disciplines, a goal of the NCCET is to encourage the math and science interests of children. We hope that these camps help students realize that fun and rewarding careers are available to them if they continue to pursue educational opportunities in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). I think that the success of these camps shows that we are on the right track and that our region will be able to meet the long-term workforce needs of our business community," said Michael McNally, Director for N.C. Center for Engineering Technologies.

Students in the 2022 Innovations Camps engaged in activities related to multiple disciplines in engineering including: chemical engineering, structural engineering, mechanical engineering, civil engineering, and mechatronics. Hexbugs and Optibots were used to introduce the younger students in Engineering Pioneers to robotics and light sensors. The latest Lego EV3 robots were built and programmed during the Future Engineers and Robotics camps. During the week, students programmed the robots for SumoBot and navigation challenge competitions. Scratch programming and Makey Makey were used in the Coding camp as students created their own video games. These camps have provided many young men and women with insights into the field of engineering. It is our hope that they begin thinking and preparing early on for the educational requirements to pursue a career in a related field.

The North Carolina Center for Engineering Technologies has been partnering with Appalachian State University, N.C. State University's College of Engineering and Catawba Valley Community College to offer the week-long day camps since June 2010.