The project aims to increase the number of Mechatronics and Process Instrumentation and Control technicians through a distance education model and collaboration with rural high schools. This is driven by industry demand and the need for technology coursework. Two colleges will offer remote Mechatronics coursework, focusing on recruiting students who can't attend on-campus classes. The project aims to:
- Create portable hands-on learning units called Independent Remote Experiential Automation Labs (iREAL).
- Form a Business and Industry Leadership Team for curriculum guidance and equipment selection.
- Involve industry professionals as student mentors.
- Provide professional development workshops for rural educators, fostering school-business-college partnerships.
Expected outcomes include a new distance education model, dual enrollment opportunities, documented project impact, and freely available mechatronics educational resources.