In a State of the Union address, President Obama discussed the part that community colleges will one day play in providing an affordable college education to all. The White House has also recently emphasized the key role these schools will have in closing the skills gap and training the workforce of the future, providing Americans with tools necessary to succeed in areas such as advanced manufacturing.
Montcalm Community College in Sidney, MI, is partnering with industry to retrain the local workforce. And Baxter is providing the platform on which Montcalm’s next-generation robotics curriculum is based. Al Palmer is an electronics instructor at MCC, but his students aren’t typical incoming freshmen, just out of high school. “My industrial students are mostly employed people who already work in industry and they can be in their fifties and sixties. And they’re not necessarily here looking for a degree, but training that their employer thinks would make them more helpful on the job.” He went on to say that “Baxter is a way of introducing those people to robotics without overwhelming them.”
Robert Ferrentino, President of Montcalm College, added, “MCC has taken it upon ourselves to say, ‘OK, we’re going to be a key partner in economic redevelopment in Montcalm County and surrounding areas. The only way to do that is to make sure we’re providing a very skilled workforce to our industry partners.’ When I look down the road a year, Baxter is going to be an important piece of that.”
About the Author
I'm Jeff Green, senior content and social media strategist at Rethink Robotics. When I'm not socializing Sawyer and Baxter, our smart, collaborative robots, I'm usually caught up in the home tornado, also known as my three kids. Love them, my wife, old-school Chinese food, movies, and of course game-changing technology.