As the automotive and mobility industry consistently evolves and advances, the future of the industry lies in the hands of our youth, which underscores the importance of investing in their education. This month, Driven highlights a local robotics education program that is driving innovation, building the talent pipeline, and reimagining the future of automotive and mobility.
The Macomb County Robotics Collaboration and Innovation Center, located at the Velocity Center in Sterling Heights, is a non-profit organization formed by Macomb County, Macomb Intermediate School District, Macomb Community College, and the City of Sterling Heights. The center works to provide local robotics teams with the tools, teaching and space needed to thrive.
Scheduled to begin in October 2021, the Robotics Center will build a new space that will give more teams in Macomb County the opportunity to practice in a state-of-the-art facility. Additionally, they plan to include a classroom which will supplement their hands-on experience.
“Having access to a full-size field to practice on is huge. I’ve seen teams with great robots but no practice time before a tournament and they don’t do very well. I’ve seen teams with a pretty good robot, but tons of practice time and they just go and dominate,” said Marjie Jenkins, Macomb Robotic Center Coordinator. “Practice time is huge, because they know the ins and outs of the robot, they’ve been able to run it and find out what will and won’t break before a competition.”
Students have the opportunity to learn and contribute to several different aspects of a robotics team, including design, programming, building, electrical and business. A key aspect of the program is to build collaboration skills, as it is vital for the collective team’s work to come together and create the final product.
“It’s very important that we work together; we find out the hard way when you don’t problem solve,” said Sarah Nsier, 16, of Macomb County. “It’s really fun knowing you’re important, you can pull your weight… it’s nice knowing that individually, your presence matters.”
Jenkins expressed the rewarding nature of her role as a coordinator and mentor, noting she has been able to stay in touch with past students and see them go onto college, get married and find success in careers at MIT, SpaceX and Apple to name a few. “Watching them grow and become really great, awesome adults is the best feeling in the world. I am very proud,” said Jenkins.
To learn more about Macomb County Robotics Collaboration and Innovation Center, please visit https://business.macombgov.org/business-Macomb%20County%20Robotics%20Collaboration%20and%20Innovation%20Center.