Alabama College Receives NSF Grant for Robotics Program

Gadsden State Community College, located near Birmingham, will use the $435,169 grant from the National Science Foundation to create an automated industrial line for certification in mechatronics and robotics.

by William Thornton, Alabama Media Group / April 12, 2019
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(TNS) — A $435,169 National Science Foundation grant will help create an advanced automation program at Gadsden State Community College.

The money will be used to create an automated industrial line, with programmable logic controllers, a robot and conveyor system, as well as develop curriculum for the program. A new advanced short-term certificate in mechatronics and robotics will also be offered as a part of the school’s Industrial Automation Program.

Gadsden State will also work to establish articulation agreements with four-year universities offering engineering or applied engineering Programs.

It’s the latest move by Alabama’s community colleges toward training for high tech jobs. The system last month inked a deal to expand students’ access to aerospace, manufacturing and defense industry training.

“The equipment and the program curriculum will train skilled technicians in advanced manufacturing to help close the skills gap and fulfill the needs of Alabama’s advanced manufacturing workforce,” Gadsden State President Martha Lavender said.

The program will train students in operating, troubleshooting and maintaining intelligent machines and computerized smart equipment.

Several Alabama companies assisted in securing the grant, with Fehrer, Rainsville Technology Inc., Kronospan, KTH Leesburg LLC, Tyler Union Quality Water Works and Honda Manufacturing of Alabama offering letters of support.

Pam Johnson, dean of institutional effectiveness, grants and special projects, said the program will benefit not only students but displaced or underemployed workers, and enhance the recruitment of women into advanced technical fields.

“We want to propel the two-year college system to a new level in training manufacturing technicians by applying the advanced curriculum to a new level of teaching integrated skills on intelligent line-based manufacturing systems,” she said.

©2019 Alabama Media Group, Birmingham. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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