Meeting twenty-first century robotics and automation workforce needs in the USA

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Department of Applied Computing


Recently, educators have worked to improve Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education at all levels, but challenges remain. Capitalizing on the appeal of robotics is one strategy proposed to increase STEM interest. The interdisciplinary nature of robots, which involve motors, sensors, and programs, makes robotics a useful STEM pedagogical tool. There is also a significant need for industrial certification programs in robotics. Robots are increasingly used across industry sectors to improve production throughputs while maintaining product quality. The benefits of robotics, however, depend on workers with up-to-date knowledge and skills to maintain and use existing robots, enhance future technologies, and educate users. It is critical that education efforts respond to the demand for robotics specialists by offering courses and professional certification in robotics and automation. The initiative presented here introduces a new approach for Industrial Robotics in Electrical Engineering Technology (EET) programs at Michigan Tech and Bay de Noc Community College. The curriculum and software developed by this collaboration of 2- and 4-year institutions match industry needs and provide a replicable model for programs in the USA. This project also addresses the need for certified robotic training centers (CRTCs) and provides curriculum and training opportunities for students from other institutions, industry representatives, and displaced workers.

Publication Title

Robotics in STEM Education: Redesigning the Learning Experience