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Workforce Challenge

In Northwestern Pennsylvania, an initiative was needed to address the substantial loss of experienced, older workers in the field of advanced manufacturing and to create pipeline development opportunities for the next generation of workers in the high-demand and emerging careers of the industry. The challenge was finding the right avenue to engage students and allow hands-on exposure to the industry.

Workforce Solution

RoboBOTS is a program convened by the Northwest Pennsylvania chapter of the National Tooling and Machining Association (NMTA) in conjunction with the NWPA WIB, the Regional Center for Workforce Excellence, and the NWPA Advanced Diversified Manufacturing Industry Partnership, along with industrial partners. Started in 2007 and now in its 4th year, it is designed for students in grades 7-12 to bolster the creative potential of mathematical reasoning, scientific analysis and the articulation of ideas by engaging students in hands-on invention and teamwork that focuses on real world skills through the process of creating competitive robots.

In this competition, teachers receive training a few months prior, and then work with students on the skills necessary for construction of their robot. The actual RoboBOTS competition takes place over the course of a school day.

Outcomes & Benefits

Response to RoboBOTS has generated support, media coverage, and investment by over 60 partners. RoboBOTS has impacted 225 high school students and 30 high school teachers since its creation. Indirectly, it has exposed over 1500 students, teachers and parents to a variety of technical fields in its first 3 years, building a pipeline of young workers interested in advanced manuafacturing. RoboBOTS has received grant awards to continue development efforts, foster awareness of the opportunities available in manufacturing and technology careers, and recognize the strength of local employers.

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