Advanced Technological Education in Robotics and Automated Manufacturing Program (ATE-RAMP)

Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College (OCtech) will implement the "Advanced Technological Education in Robotics and Automated Manufacturing Program" (ATE-RAMP) with the overarching goal of increasing awareness of opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines for women and underrepresented minorities. To achieve this goal, the project team will implement a three-step plan focused on awareness, preparation, and career-readiness. Within the region served by OCtech, interest in STEM careers and student achievement in STEM subjects lags behind the nation and behind many areas within the state of South Carolina. The five counties being targeted for this project are in the top six of South Carolina's forty-six (46) counties with the highest unemployment rates. Efforts are being made to shore up the lagging economy in the area by recruiting a variety of high tech industries. These employers will need workers with knowledge and skills in STEM subjects, namely robotics and automated manufacturing (AM). Without a skilled workforce to offer, this region of South Carolina will fail to fulfill its potential role as a home to these much needed industries. In partnership with local industry and school districts, ATE-RAMP will help meet current and future workforce needs by attracting and engaging students from poor, rural communities who are not typically exposed to robotics, AM, and STEM career opportunities. The partnering school districts have significant minority and female student populations.

The objectives of the project are to: (1) introduce opportunities for underrepresented groups to have access to programs involving robotics and AM; (2) provide dual credit courses in robotics and AM for high school students; and (3) expand the course offerings in the computer engineering curriculum at OCtech to include robotics and AM and share developed resources with other colleges. These objectives will be met through activities including, but not limited to, hosting Vex Robotics teams, competitions, and summer camps for rural K-12 students, deploying traveling robotics and AM demonstrations, adding dual credit courses to the STEM Academy of the Middle College at OCtech, expanding capacity of existing courses to facilitate better hands-on experiences for students, and revising the Associate in Applied Science (AAS) in Engineering Technology to ensure that it produces technicians with marketable skills necessary to work in fields related to robotics and AM. Achievement of desired goals will be determined by employing mixed methods that assess affective and cognitive outcomes using both quantitative and qualitative data. The results will help build the knowledge base on promising practices for engaging students from underrepresented groups who live in poor, rural communities in STEM activities, technician programs, and in the workforce.

ATE Award Metadata

Award Number
Funding Status
ATE Start Date
September 15th, 2015
ATE Expiration Date
August 31st, 2019
ATE Principal Investigator
Richard Murphy
Primary Institution
Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College
Record Type
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