Elementary-age students in Clinton, Tippecanoe, and White counties are this summer hands-on experience with robotics and manufacturing, hoping to pique their interests as a possible career path.
The Indiana Next Generation Manufacturing Competitiveness Center in West Lafayette is partnering with the Greater Lafayette Commerce to provide innovative curriculum for a robotics summer camp.
The program served children in the 10-county Wabash Heartland Innovation Network region.
The robotics camp provided attendees a blend of technical and soft skills to prepare K-8 students.
“Students love the opportunity to create activities that challenge students’ perceptions of manufacturing and allow those students to imagine a future where they are a successful part of our local workforce,” said Greg Strimel, assistant professor of engineering/technology teacher education in Purdue Polytechnic.
Camp organizers invite regional industry partners, such as Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Caterpillar, Wabash National, and Kirby Risk, among others, to provide instruction, activities, and real-world perspectives.
“From coding to robotics, students are learning essential skills and understanding how those skills factor into our local and global economy,” said Strimel.
This year’s robotics camp had roughly 150 total students across four weekly sessions.
“Many people do not understand all of the opportunities available in manufacturing and how high-tech those options are,” said Kara Webb, workforce development director at GLC. “Our main goal with these camps is to spark a passion and ignite a fire within these kids to see something they can do, enjoy doing, and do within their community.”
Planning has begun for the 2021 robotics camps.